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Difficulty Swallowing Tips

Difficulty In Swallowing Your Food - Can You Be Suffering From Achalasia?

Dr. Himanshu Yadav 83% (23 ratings)
MBBS, M.S. (Gold Medalist), MCh - Surgical Gastroenterology/G.I. Surgery
Gastroenterologist, Agra
Difficulty In Swallowing Your Food - Can You Be Suffering From Achalasia?

The tube that carries food to your stomach from your throat is called the oesophagus. When the muscular valve (lower oesophagus sphincter) in the oesophagus fails to relax and carry the food to the stomach, the condition is termed as achalasia.

Achalasia has a variety of causes, and can be difficult for your doctor to diagnose the exact cause. Some common causes of achalasia include:
1. Hereditary predispositions
2. Autoimmune disorders (The immune system erroneously destroys healthy cells in the body)
3. Nerve degeneration in the oesophagus
There other medical conditions that often lead to symptoms identical to achalasia, such as oesophageal cancer and Chagas’ disease (an infectious disease caused by a parasite).

Other symptoms of achalasia include:

The most prominent symptom of achalasia is dysphagia, which is characterised by swallowing difficulties or sensations of food stuck in the oesophagus. Dysphagia often triggers coughing and shortness of breath or choking on food.
1. Discomfort or pain in the chest
2. Weight loss
3. Heartburn
4. Intense discomfort or pain after eating

Some of the treatments include:

Most of the methods to treat achalasia focus on the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The treatments used can either permanently alter the sphincter’s function, or reduce symptoms.
1. Oral medications such as calcium channel blockers or nitrates are prescribed, which can relax the LES to let food pass through with more ease. Your doctor may also treat the LES with Botox.
2. For a more permanent treatment, the sphincter can be dilated or altered. In dilation, a balloon is inserted into the oesophagus and it is inflated. This will stretch out your oesophagus to improve function.
3. To alter the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy is performed. It is a kind of surgery where minimal incisions are made to gain access to the LES, and then it is carefully altered to improve flow of food to the stomach.

Unlike dilation, which can cause complications such as tears in the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy has a greater success rate. However, certain complications may still arise, such as:
1. Acid reflux
2. Respiratory conditions that are caused by food entering your windpipe

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

3388 people found this helpful

Difficulty in Swallowing - Can It Be Due To Esophagus Blocking?

Dr. Parth Amin 86% (10 ratings)
DNB (ENT), Diploma in Otorhinolaryngology (DLO), MBBS, SR (ENT)
ENT Specialist, Ahmedabad
Difficulty in Swallowing - Can It Be Due To Esophagus Blocking?

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!

4418 people found this helpful

Dr. Stephen Hawking: The Man Who Lived By The Thought, "Intelligence Is The Ability To Adapt To Change"

Dr. Aparna Gupta 88% (27 ratings)
DNB (Neurology), MD/MBBS - General Medicine
Neurologist, Delhi
Dr. Stephen Hawking: The Man Who Lived By The Thought, "Intelligence Is The Ability To Adapt To Change"

“I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first”, are the famous words of a man who, against all odds pursued his passion till the end. 14 March 2018 will always be considered as one of the darkest days as the world mourns the loss of the great Dr. Stephen Hawking, who enlightened people with his theories related to, ‘exploration of general relativity and properties of the black hole’.

At the age of 21 he was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)  or Lou Gehrig’s disease and despite the challenges he faced, he lived his life with fun & vigor.

So, what is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease, which is responsible for controlling the voluntary muscle movement in the body. It is one of the rare neurological diseases and has no cure at present. It is degenerative disease i.e. the condition affected by it will get worse over a period of time and weakens the working of these neurons.

What is the cause of it?

In 90% to 95% of cases, the definitive cause of it is still not known. And, for the remaining cases, there is a possibility that this disease can occur due an inherited genetic history of certain specific genes from their parents.

How the disease affected Stephen?

The symptoms of this disease vary from person to person. Also, the disease has a tendency to spread to unaffected regions of the body with the affected regions turning worse. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, the patient eventually will not able to walk, use their hands & arms, loses his ability to speak, to swallow food or their own saliva, and lastly, it affects the ability to cough & breathe resulting in the death of the patient.

In most of the cases, people who are diagnosed with ALS live up to 2-5 years. However, Hawking was a rare case who survived for over 50 years, since he was diagnosed when he was 21. And, in spite of his disease, he came up with highly elaborate researches such as that of the black hole theory.

How did he survive for so long?

When a patient suffers from ALS it is possible he or she can die due to respiratory failure, or deterioration of swallowing muscles which leads to dehydration and malnutrition. The case of Hawking is still a mystery for both doctors and scientists alike. As, in all ALS cases, the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction or memory dysfunction are common but were proven wrong in Hawking’s case. As per Hawking’s biography ‘A Brief History of Time’, his grasping, and learning ability improved only after his disease.

Due to the progression of his disease, he was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair and was not able to perform day to day activities such as bathing, eating, and even talking. He was only able to move a few fingers. In order to overcome his difficulties, he started using a speech synthesizer that gave him a computerized voice. Also, after reading his case many doctors claimed that the disease progressed slower than it usually does in his case.


Common signs of this disease

Although the above symptoms can indicate other health ailments in case of continuous occurrence one should consult a doctor immediately. In case of any concern, do consult an expert and get answers. 

3628 people found this helpful

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

Dr. J. K.Gupta 87% (52 ratings)
MS ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Noida
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!

2605 people found this helpful

Achalasia - Signs You Are Suffering From It!

Dr. Nitin Manglik 86% (57 ratings)
MBBS, MD - General Medicine, DM - Gastroenterology
Gastroenterologist, Ghaziabad
Achalasia - Signs You Are Suffering From It!

Achalasia is a very rare disease. Normally, your esophagus squeezes food down by making the muscular valve in between the stomach and esophagus relax. Achalasia occurs when this muscular valve is unable to relax and thus the esophagus is unable to squeeze the food down. The most common reason why this happens is because the nerves in your esophagus are damaged. The nerves most commonly get damaged because of abnormalities in the way your immune system responds. Till now, there is no cure to achalasia; however surgery or minimally invasive therapy can make the symptoms of achalasia more manageable. Here are all the causes and symptoms of achalasia:

Symptoms

  1. Difficulty swallowing: The difficulty you face when swallowing food is the most common symptom of achalasia. Both liquid as well as solid food will be hard to swallow.
  2. Regurgitation: If the food is regurgitating in the night, then the lungs may have been inhaling some food. This is very serious and you should see the doctor immediately if this occurs.
  3. Chest painYou may suddenly experience chest pain from a completely unknown cause. 
  4. Weight loss: You may also suffer from sudden weight loss if you have achalasia. This is due to the reduced amount of food you will be consuming.
  5. Heartburn: Heartburn is when you have a very intense burning pain in your chest just behind your breastbone which is most commonly caused by regurgitation in your esophagus. 

Causes
The exact cause of achalasia is not yet known. However, there are some theories on what causes achalasia. Here they are.

  1. Genes: The most common cause of achalasia is genes. 
  2. Autoimmune disease: An autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks your body's own cells. Achalasia is a type of autoimmune disease.
  3. InfectionThere have also been a lot of claims that infections are the cause of achalasia.

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

1886 people found this helpful

Achalasia - Symptoms + Treatment

Dr. Parthasarathy G 91% (19 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, M.Ch - Surgical Gastroenterology/G.I. Surgery, Fellowship in Hepatobiliary Surgery & Liver Transplantation, International Visiting Scholar
Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad
Achalasia - Symptoms + Treatment

Achalasia is a serious disorder of the esophagus in which your nerves and muscles fail to work properly. This disorder causes problems in your body such as chest pain, difficulty to swallow food and excessive coughing.

You will also face problems in breathing in case the food enters in to the lungs. There is a valve in your lower esophageal splinter, which closes the esophagus from your stomach. If you have problems like achalasia then perhaps your lower esophageal splinter fails to open while swallowing food it can lead to accumulation of food in esophagus. In this condition the nerves in your body gets damaged and hence cause health complications.

You are at risk of achalasia when you are middle aged, but it can also occur during childhood. Auto immune disorder often places you at risk for achalasia.

Symptoms of achalasia:
The major symptom of achalasia is dysphagia in which you face problems while swallowing food. You may feel that the food is struck in your esophagus which causes choking and problems when you breathe. There may be other symptoms of achalasia which includes:
1. Loss of weight
2. Heart burn
3. Discomfort or pain while you eat food
4. Chest pain
5. Risk of esophagus cancer

Treatment for achalasia:
Esophageal manometry is a technique your doctor may use, if he suspects achalasia when the symptoms include difficulty while you eat and swallow foods. A tube measures the muscular activity in your stomach and reports about the functioning of your esophagus. Another way to diagnose is through X- ray of the esophagus or endoscopy.

The treatment for achalasia generally starts with oral medications. Sphincter nitrates and calcium blockers often help to relax the muscles. Botox can also help to relax your sphincter and help you swallow food.
Esophagomyotomy also helps to treat achalasia in which your doctor can use an incision to access the sphincter and also alter it to enable better flow into the stomach. It’s a generally successful procedure, but sometimes can cause Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which causes heart burn and would require intensive care. Sometimes surgery can also help to give relief but it can also cause acid reflux, respiratory problems, tearing of esophagus along with other serious complications.

Laparoscopic surgery is a simple and effective way of treating this problem .The tight lower esophageal sphincter is released to make way for easy passage of food.The patient recovers in one day and is discharged home following this operation. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a gastroenterologist.

2977 people found this helpful

Dysphagia - Causes And Treatment!

Dr. Gladson Guddappa Uchil 91% (618 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma In Otorhinolaryngology (DLO)
ENT Specialist, Bangalore
Dysphagia - Causes And Treatment!

Ever had tempting food calling out to you, but could not to swallow it? This could be a serious medical condition and should not be taken lightly. Sometimes, certain disorders in the throat or the esophagus culminate in acute difficulties in swallowing. Commonly termed dysphagia, this disease is directly linked to some sort of a neuro cardiac abnormality. Dysphagia is commonly noted in babies and aged people or in other words in those age groups whose immunity systems are not necessarily strong. Occasional troubles in swallowing can go unnoticed and may not necessarily raise the alarm, but if this condition prevails for a comparatively long period of time, then one really needs to get themselves checked.

Some of the most prominent causes of dysphagia have been enlisted below:

  • Muscular and nervous dysfunctions: On certain occasions, the nerves and the muscles that are responsible for transporting food through the food pipe may not be functioning properly. As a consequence of which, food particles find it difficult to navigate through the esophagus and reach the stomach. Such a condition may be spurred by a stroke or nervous diseases like Parkinson's, sclerosis or dystrophy. A weak immunity system, leading to an inflammation and thus narrowing of the esophageal walls may also cause such a disease.
  • Gastronomical distresses: Ulcers or inflammation of the food pipe due to some gastroenteric disorders is also a cause of dysphagia. Such a condition may arise out of innocuous situations like an allergic reaction or on account of more chronic medical distresses like cancers and tumors. 
  • Dryness inside the mouth: The saliva in the mouth helps in debilitating the food particles into digestible form.  However, due to some kind of a hormonal imbalance, if there isn't adequate saliva formation, it becomes a task to swallow the food and results in dysphagia. 

With timely diagnosis, dysphagia can be treated effectively. Treating dysphagia usually involves a few clinical methods as well as a few lifestyle changes.  Certain specialists advice exercising the throat muscles that can possibly ease out swallowing while others recommend specific changes in the diet for the same. Surgical procedures involve dilation and endoscopy which clears out the surface area of the esophagus as a result of which heals dysphagia to a great extent. Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2601 people found this helpful

Sore Throat - Homeopathic Remedies For It!

Dr. Ritu Singh 88% (14 ratings)
BHMS
Homeopath, Mumbai
Sore Throat - Homeopathic Remedies For It!

Homeopathy is considered to be an untested medicine for many. This is why so many patients who have a sore throat immediately turn to tablets, hot water or even syrups to relieve the pain. Different causes of a sore throat will have different remedies.

Here are the some of the homeopathic remedies for different causes of a sore throat.

  1. Belladonna: This is the best medicine when there is any difficulty swallowing. It is also very readily available.
  2. HeparSulph: Heparsulph is generally used when there is a sensation in your throat, which feels like there is some sort of splinter.
  3. Phosporus: Phosphorus is a more widely used homeopathic remedy. It is used to treat what is called as 'clergyman's' sore throat. This is when there is a tickling sensation in the larynx.
  4. Lachesis: This is also a very uncommon and rarely required medicine. However, sometimes our throat feels sore only when we take liquids. In this case, lachesis is the ideal remedy.
  5. Bryonia: Bryonia is a much more common homeopathy. It is used when there is a cough accompanying the sore throat.
  6. Merc sol: Tonsilltis is generally considered to be a condition too serious to cure with homeopathy. However, Merc sol does do this effectively. Belladonna is also pretty good at it. They also help with a sore throat.
  7. Arsenicum album: This medication is most commonly used when a sore throat is accompanied by a cold.
  8. Aconite: Aconite is considered even better than arsenicum album in treating a sore throat which is also accompanied by a cold.
  9. Capsicum: This is a great homeopathic rememdy for a pain in the throat which goes all the way to the ears.
  10. Argentium metallicum: Argentium Metallicum is used when the soreness of your throat worsens with the use of the voice. Professional singers and public speakers are especially in need of this medicine as they frequently use their voice.
  11. Chamomilla: This remedy is especially great for helping cure sore throat in children. 
  12. Baryta carbonicum: This is a remedy used for a very similar reason to what chamomilla is used for.

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

3694 people found this helpful

3 Causes Of Dysphagia And Its Treatment!

Dr. Sudhanshu Pandey 89% (126 ratings)
MS- ENT
ENT Specialist, Jaipur
3 Causes Of Dysphagia And Its Treatment!

Ever had tempting food calling out to you, but could not to swallow it? This could be a serious medical condition and should not be taken lightly. Sometimes, certain disorders in the throat or the esophagus culminate in acute difficulties in swallowing. Commonly termed dysphagia, this disease is directly linked to some sort of a neuro cardiac abnormality. Dysphagia is commonly noted in babies and aged people or in other words in those age groups whose immunity systems are not necessarily strong. Occasional troubles in swallowing can go unnoticed and may not necessarily raise the alarm, but if this condition prevails for a comparatively long period of time, then one really needs to get themselves checked.

Some of the most prominent causes of dysphagia have been enlisted below:

  • Muscular and nervous dysfunctions: On certain occasions, the nerves and the muscles that are responsible for transporting food through the food pipe may not be functioning properly. As a consequence of which, food particles find it difficult to navigate through the esophagus and reach the stomach. Such a condition may be spurred by a stroke or nervous diseases like Parkinson's, sclerosis or dystrophy. A weak immunity system, leading to an inflammation and thus narrowing of the esophageal walls may also cause such a disease.
  • Gastronomical distresses: Ulcers or inflammation of the food pipe due to some gastroenteric disorders is also a cause of dysphagia. Such a condition may arise out of innocuous situations like an allergic reaction or on account of more chronic medical distresses like cancers and tumors. 
  • Dryness inside the mouth: The saliva in the mouth helps in debilitating the food particles into digestible form.  However, due to some kind of a hormonal imbalance, if there isn't adequate saliva formation, it becomes a task to swallow the food and results in dysphagia. 

With timely diagnosis, dysphagia can be treated effectively. Treating dysphagia usually involves a few clinical methods as well as a few lifestyle changes.  Certain specialists advice exercising the throat muscles that can possibly ease out swallowing while others recommend specific changes in the diet for the same. Surgical procedures involve dilation and endoscopy which clears out the surface area of the esophagus as a result of which heals dysphagia to a great extent. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Ent specialist.

2705 people found this helpful

Thyroid Cancer - Ayurvedic Treatment For It!

Dr. Suneet V Shende 91% (336 ratings)
BAMS, MD - Ayurveda
Ayurveda, Navi Mumbai
Thyroid Cancer - Ayurvedic Treatment For It!

Thyroid cancer affects the thyroid glands, which are located at the base of the throat. These glands produce thyroid hormones, which help in controlling the blood pressure, heart rate, weight and the body temperature.

Thyroid cancer is primarily of four types:

  1. Anaplastic carcinoma: This is the most severe type of thyroid cancer which is rare, but spreads extremely fast once the person is affected: 
  2. Follicular carcinoma: This type of thyroid cancer can be cured, but it might relapse. Follicular cancer spreads quickly as well.
  3. Papillary carcinoma: This type of cancer is more common. It generally affects women who are still of reproductive age. The spread of papillary cancer is gradual and it is less dangerous than the types.
  4. Medullary carcinoma: This type occurs in the non thyroid cells in the thyroid gland. Medullary cancer is hereditary in nature. 

Thyroid cancer has the following signs and symptoms:

  1. Lumps in the anterior neck, close to the Adam's apple.
  2. Hoarseness
  3. Enlarged glands in the neck
  4. Swallowing difficulties
  5. Complications in breathing
  6. Neck or throat pain
  7. Persistent cough without any signs of a cold.

In Ayurveda, cancer is seen as a hindrance to the life force. The cancer cells lack prana (oxygen) and produce a growth beyond the life force. It is the result of the dominance of any of the three: 'vata', 'kapha' or 'pitta' in the body. Ayurveda is all about balancing the energies in the body. Polluted environment, processed food loaded with preservatives and salts, and certain other factors can greatly affect the 'vata', 'kapha' and 'pitta'. Thyroid is the result of an aberration in the "kapha" dosha in the body.

The endocrine system produces hormones, which help in the overall functioning of the body. The 'kapha' dosha holds the endocrine system together. The thyroid glands are an important part of the body; they are a major endocrine system. Herbs that can help with thyroid cancer:

  1. Echinacea
  2. Cleavers
  3. Black pepper
  4. Ginger
  5. Trikatu
  6. Cayenne
  7. Cardamom

If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.

6590 people found this helpful
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