The esophagus carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. When an individual has difficulty or pain swallowing, dysphagia (dis-Fay-juh), it is typically attributed to the following reasons:
Food gets stuck in the esophagus, also called "Esophageal Dysphagia", or
An individual has a nerve or muscular problem that weakens the throat muscles making it difficult to move food thru the esophagus, also call "Oropharyngeal Dysphagia".
What are some signs or symptoms of swallowing disorders?
People experiencing dysphagia often will have these general symptoms:
A person looses weight or becomes dehydrated from not being able to eat or drink
Coughing during or right after drinking or eating
A person will have gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
Swallowing will take extra effort, and a person takes a long time to chew or swallow
A person will food getting stuck in the throat
Also, individuals may experience recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
How are swallowing disorders diagnosed?
A gastroenterologist will evaluate individuals who are experiencing problems swallowing. The gastroenterologist will assess the persons medical history. The physician may perform a surgical procedure, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to diagnose swallowing difficulties.