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What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a disorder that makes it difficult swallow food or liquids. There are many conditions that can lead to dysphagia, including esophageal strictures and tumors, scleroderma, GERD, foreign bodies, or an allergic reaction (eosinophilic esophagitis). Achalasia or diffuse spasms may also cause dysphagia. These conditions cause the involuntary muscles in the lower esophageal walls to contract sporadically. Other causes not related to the esophagus include neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson’s disease, and damage caused by stroke or spinal cord injury.

What are the Symptoms of Dysphagia?

The signs and symptoms of dysphagia commonly include:

  • Pain while swallowing
  • Being unable to swallow
  • Having the sensation of food getting stuck in your throat or chest or behind your breastbone (sternum)
  • Drooling
  • Hoarseness
  • Regurgitation
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing

If you are experiencing severe or frequent symptoms of dysphagia, schedule an appointment with a doctor at Digestive Health Associates of Cheyenne who will evaluate your condition, perform necessary testing, and talk to you about your treatment options.

How Do You Treat Dysphagia?

Diagnosing dysphagia usually involves a combination of tests and procedures. These might include a barium swallow, endoscopy, and esophageal muscle tests in addition to imaging tests like CT scans, MRI, and x-ray. The results will help guide the doctor in providing the best treatment for you. Treatment may include swallowing muscle exercises, esophageal dilation, and drug therapy to reduce stomach acid production and/or inflammation from allergies. Depending upon your condition and the determined root cause, the doctor may recommend surgery. Our board-certified, experienced physicians at Digestive Health Associates of Cheyenne are committed to providing you with the best diagnosis and treatment options. Contact us today.

Learn More: Dysphagia

American College of Gastroenterology

Cleveland Clinic

Mayo Clinic

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