Treating Esophageal Dysphagia
Dysphagia is the generic term for swallowing difficulty. Millions of Americans see their physicians because of swallowing difficulties. Esophageal dysphagia is a type of dysphagia in which the esophagus is involved in the swallowing difficulty. Because esophageal dysphagia impacts your ability to eat without choking or coughing, it is not only a dangerous condition to leave undiagnosed, but it can also impact your quality of life.
What Are the Symptoms of Esophageal Dysphagia?
Any type of difficulty swallowing should be examined by your physician, but the most common symptoms of esophageal dysphagia are choking, coughing whenever you eat or drink, gurgling in your voice after eating, difficulty chewing or swallowing, pain when swallowing, weight loss due to the inability to consume food regularly, and recurring pneumonia from food aspiration. People with esophageal dysphagia often feel like it takes a long time to swallow. Over time, the mental and emotional impact may result in food avoidance.
What Causes Esophageal Dysphagia?
There are several different conditions that can cause esophageal dysphagia, and your physician will ask you about your medical history, examine you, and conduct testing to determine the extent and cause of your dysphagia. There are four primary conditions that cause esophageal dysphagia:
- Achalasia – Inability to relax the sphincter muscle
- Esophageal narrowing – Inflammation from GERD or a tumor
- Pharynx muscle dysfunction – Loss of muscle control, often due to stroke
- Brain disturbances – Often related to Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or multiple sclerosis
Can Esophageal Dysphagia Be Treated?
If you think you might have a swallowing problem, contact us at Allied Digestive Disease Center in Houston for a full evaluation and digestive testing. Treatment is available, ranging from lifestyle and dietary changes to prescription medication and speech therapy. To determine your treatment, we will evaluate your swallowing disorder through an upper GI endoscopy, manometry testing, pH testing, or cineradiography testing. The most important step you can take is to get in touch with your digestive specialist.
If you are experiencing dysphagia or trouble swallowing, visit Allied Digestive Disease Center of Houston today. Our team is able to provide excellent services to get your nutrition back on the right track. Schedule an appointment at our practice today by calling 832.912.4481 or fill out the form on this page.