People swallow hundreds of times a day to eat solids, drink liquids, and swallow the normal saliva and mucus that the body produces. Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) can happen at any time to any age. Some symptoms include drooling, a feeling that food is stuck in your throat, discomfort in the throat or chest, a feeling of a lump in the throat, voice change, coughing or choking during eating or drinking.
Difficulties in swallowing can be caused by several underlying disorders or medical problems.
If the difficulty doesn’t clear up on its own in a short period of time, an appointment with an otolaryngologist at Mid-Kansas Ear, Nose & Throat can help determine if there are more serious issues such as a tumor or progressive neurological disorder.
What will happen at my visit to Mid-Kansas Ear, Nose & Throat?
If you experience difficulty swallowing, it is important to seek treatment to avoid malnutrition and dehydration. When dysphagia is persistent and the cause is not apparent, the otolaryngologist will discuss the history of your problem. A scope may be used to see the back of the tongue, throat and larynx (voice box).
Many of these disorders can be treated with medication and are tailored to the cause of the swallowing disorder. Drugs that slow stomach acid production, muscle relaxants, and antacids are a few of the many medicines available.
Surgery is used to treat certain problems. If a narrowing exists in the throat or esophagus, the area may need to be stretched or dilated.
A speech pathologist at Mid-Kansas Ear, Nose & Throat can provide swallowing therapy to strengthen the swallowing muscles and stimulate the nerves that trigger the swallowing reflux.