Dysphagia Treatment and FAQ in Dallas Tx is a condition whereby you find it difficult to swallow food and liquids. It will take you more time and effort to swallow food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach.
You may feel pain in your throat when swallowing. It may also be impossible to swallow in some cases.
Dysphagia is usually caused by nerve or muscle damage in the esophagus.
Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing is usually not a cause for concern as it may occur when you eat too fast or don’t chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. However, when this condition happens frequently, it may indicate a serious medical condition that may require medical treatment.
Dysphagia may be temporary and go away on its own. If your condition is a chronic one, you may need treatment to help improve your condition. Total cure isn’t always possible. There are a variety of treatment options that can greatly improve your condition and help you swallow food more easily.
A speech or swallowing therapist can help you learn how to coordinate your swallowing muscles or re-stimulate the nerves that trigger the swallowing reflex. You can also learn how to properly place food in your mouth and position your body and head properly to help you swallow more easily.
Medications, esophageal dilation, and surgery are some other approaches that can be used for the treatment of severe dysphagia. Changing your eating habits and chewing food more thoroughly can also help you swallow food more easily.
Mild dysphagia that happens once in a while is not an emergency. However, if food is stuck in your esophagus for more than a few hours, it is considered an emergency situation. Chronic recurrent issues of choking or coughing related to dysphagia are also considered an emergency.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common cause of pediatric dysphagia.
The warning signs or symptoms of dysphagia include:
Dysphagia start when there is a problem with the neural control or the structures involved in the swallowing process.
Certain disorders such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can cause dysphagia. Neurological damage, such as from a stroke or brain or spinal cord injury, can affect your ability to swallow foods and liquids
Weak tongue or weak cheek muscles can make it difficult for you to move food around in your mouth when chewing.
To diagnose dysphagia, your doctor will likely perform a physical examination and may use a variety of tests to determine the cause. Diagnostic tests that may be conducted include:
You will be given a barium solution to drink. The barium solution coats your esophagus and allows it to appear clearer on X-rays. Your doctor views the images and then sees changes in the shape of your esophagus and can also assess the muscular activity.
You may also be given a solid food or a pill coated with barium to swallow. Your doctor views and monitors the muscles in your throat as you swallow and also look for blockages in your esophagus that the liquid barium solution may not have identified.
You will be given barium-coated foods of different consistencies to swallow. Your doctor uses x-ray to view the foods as they travel through your mouth and down your throat. The images may show problems in the coordination of your mouth and throat muscles as you swallow.
This test is done so that your doctor can view the inside of your esophagus for any problem. During the procedure, a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) is passed down your throat through your mouth so that your doctor can view inside your esophagus. Your doctor may also take biopsies of the esophagus to look for inflammation, tumor, or any abnormalities.
This test is used to measure the muscle contractions of your esophagus as you swallow. During this test, a small tube is inserted into your esophagus and connected to a pressure recorder to measure the muscle contractions of your esophagus as you swallow.
Imaging scans may include a CT scan, which combines a series of X-ray views and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of your body’s bones and soft tissues. It can also include an MRI scan, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of organs and tissues.
The stages of dysphagia include:
In this stage, you experience difficulty manipulating food and liquids in and through the mouth. You may have difficulty chewing solid food. You may experience weakness and discoordination of tongue movements. The tongue fails to propel food towards the throat as it should normally do. Food may remain in your mouth and not moved efficiently to the next phase.
In this stage, there may be a decreased ability to “trigger” the actual swallow. The muscles of your throat may become weak and foods and liquids are not able to move through the pharynx well. There may be problems closing the vocal folds, which help protect the airway. Food or liquids may misdirect into the airway during the swallow and passes the vocal folds.
In this stage, food does not move well through the openings at the top and bottom of the esophagus. There is dysfunction of contraction wave which normally squeezes food from the esophagus into the stomach. You may feel food stuck in your esophagus at some level. You may experience frequent movements of foods, liquids, and stomach acids back up to your esophagus.
Dysphagia can be temporary, goes away on its own, or get worse over time.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common cause of dysphagia.
Doctors that can treat or contribute to the treatment of dysphagia include an otolaryngologist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, and a speech-language pathologist.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that causes dysphagia.
Swallowing exercises, dietary changes, properly placing food in your mouth, and chewing properly can help improve dysphagia.