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4 Treatments for Dysphagia That Are Easy to Swallow

Do you have trouble swallowing? You may have dysphagia, which has a wide variety of symptoms associated with it. These symptoms include pain during swallowing (odynophagia), inability to swallow, and being hoarse.

Dysphagia has two varieties: oropharyngeal and esophageal. The type of dysphagia you have depends on how and why the dysphagia is occurring.

Esophageal dysphagia is the sensation of getting food stuck in the base of your throat or your chest after you’ve swallowed. There are many underlying causes of esophageal dysphagia.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is the weakening of throat muscles that makes it difficult for food to move from your mouth into your throat and esophagus when you swallow. Causes of oropharyngeal dysphagia include neurological disorders, neurological damage, and cancer.

Treatment for dysphagia depends on which type you have. Read on for four dysphagia treatments.

1. Exercises

Treats: oropharyngeal dysphagia

You can learn how to swallow correctly. A speech therapist can teach you techniques that will strengthen your throat muscles and allow you to swallow successfully.

If you take medications, your therapist may suggest you swallow them with yogurt or pudding. It’s easier to swallow a solid with a semi-solid than with a liquid.

2. Diet Changes

Treats: oropharyngeal dysphagia

Your gastroenterologist may recommend eliminating foods that are hard to swallow and focusing on those that are easy to swallow. They may refer you to a dietician to ensure that you’re still eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods.

3. Medication

Treats: esophageal dysphagia

Medication for dysphagia will be used to treat its underlying cause. Esophageal dysphagia can be caused by a variety of conditions including foreign bodies, radiation therapy, and GERD. Your gastroenterologist may prescribe corticosteroids, antacids, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), and muscle relaxants to treat the cause of your esophageal dysphagia.

4. Surgery

Treats: esophageal dysphagia

Your gastroenterologist may recommend surgery if therapy and medication don’t improve or resolve your dysphagia. If your dysphagia is caused by an obstruction, surgery can be used to remove it. If your dysphagia is being caused by a narrowed esophagus, a stent can be placed to open it up.

Do you have difficulty swallowing? Do you want to be evaluated or treated for dysphagia? Our gastroenterologists can help you manage your dysphagia so you can enjoy living your life. Make an appointment today.

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