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Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia) - Know The Causes Behind It!!

Dr. J. K.Gupta 90% (66 ratings)
MS ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Noida  •  16 years experience
Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia) - Know The Causes Behind It!!

Swallowing food comes naturally to human beings. But when there is a problem, it is usually called Dysphagia. Esophagus, a muscular tube-like organ located at the back of our throat, usually helps in swallowing food and transferring them to our stomach. When esophagus does not function properly, dysphagia happens. Patients suffering from brain or nerve disorder, seniors and babies might have this problem.

People with dysphagia might witness the following issues:

  • Difficulty in swallowing solids and liquids.
  • Gaging, choking or coughing usually occurs when trying to swallow.
  • Experience pain when trying to swallow and also heartburn.
  • Swallowed food might come back up either through mouth or nose.
  • A chronic problem might result in weight loss.

Causes:
There are 2 main reasons, why the Esophagus might become dysfunctional.

  1. Due to some medical condition the muscles and nerves that help the esophagus work have stopped working.
  2. The esophagus is blocked by something.

There can be a number of reasons for both the condition. Here are the reasons why the muscles and nerves might not work.
Certain diseases can create problems with your nervous system, which in turn can affect the esophagus. These diseases are polio, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease.

  1. A brain stroke, spinal cord injury or brain injury can also affect swallowing.
  2. Polymyositis or Dermatomyositis are immune system problems that can cause swelling or weakness.
  3. The muscles of esophagus suddenly squeeze, which is called esophagus spasm.
  4. Scleroderma causes the esophagus to become thin and weak.

The esophagus might be blocked because of these reasons:

  1. Esophagus might have malignant or non-malignant tumours.
  2. Esophagitis is a medical condition when the esophagus is infected, got some allergy or even if a pill got stuck on it.
  3. People suffering from reflux diseases often experience the acid that backs up into the esophagus. This can cause an ulcer on it resulting in scars. Scars make Esophagus narrower, making it difficult to swallow.
  4. There are small sacs called Diverticula on the esophagus or the throat, often making it difficult to swallow.
  5. Lymph nodes, tumours, bone spurs can also obstruct esophagus and create difficulty in swallowing.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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