Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Last Updated: Sep 09, 2019
Change Language

Difficulty In Swallowing: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

What is the Difficulty In Swallowing? How is the Difficulty Swallowing treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the Difficulty In Swallowing?

Difficulty in swallowing is a symptom of dysphagia wherein the person has a sensation of difficulty in swallowing food or drink. For such people solid or liquid substance does not pass easily from mouth to the stomach. The swallowing mechanism has a lack of sensation in the pharynx portion of the oesophagus. Sometimes the swallowing difficulty may be felt along with a pain also and in some cases the person may not even be able to swallow. A persistent swallowing difficulty must be taken seriously and would require treatment.

The symptom or the condition can occur in people of any age but can also occur in adults and more specifically in older adults. The symptoms that indicate dysphagia or difficulty swallowing are the abnormal sensation while swallowing, not able to swallow either solid or liquid, sometimes having pain while swallowing, being hoarse while talking, regurgitation or bringing the food back up from the lower oesophagus or stomach, having heartburns, losing weight and drooling.

Causes of difficulty in swallowing can be several like esophageal dysphagia that occurs due to inability of the esophageal sphincter muscle to relax to let smooth passage of food substance in the stomach, a narrow esophagus, or tumours in esophagus, GERD, scleroderma or a scar-like tissue development in the esophagus thereby causing the esophageal sphincter muscle to not relax properly.

The condition can also be due to certain neurological disorders or cancer. Treatment of difficulty swallowing depends upon the cause of the disorder. It varies for all types of dysphagia. For example, oropharyngeal dysphagia can be treated with the help of a few exercises and learning some swallowing techniques, esophageal dysphagia can be treated by esophageal dilation or with medications or with surgery. Treating severe dysphagia will require following a special liquid diet and a feeding tube to aid in transporting the food to the stomach. Certain cases of dysphagia do require surgery to be treated.

How is the Difficulty Swallowing treatment done?

It is important to treat dysphagia or difficulty swallowing for proper intake of food. Treatment depends upon the type and cause of the disorder. If it is due to oropharyngeal dysphagia, treatment includes learning exercises and swallowing techniques. The swallowing therapist helps you to learn some exercise that would aid in coordinating the swallowing muscles or learn to stimulate the nerves again that are responsible for swallowing reflex.

Some diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease can also cause dysphagia which can be managed by learning techniques on how to swallow the food. Esophageal dysphagia can be treated either by dilating the esophagus, or with medications or with the help of surgery. In esophageal dilation the narrow esophagus or a tight esophageal sphincter is expanded with the help of an endoscope attached to a special balloon.

If the difficult swallowing is due to GERD, it can be treated using certain medications like corticosteroids and muscle relaxants to relieve eosinophilic esophagitis and esophageal spasms respectively. Surgery may be required if there is an esophageal tumour or tight esophageal sphincter or pharyngoesophageal diverticulum. A severe dysphagia can be treated with a special liquid diet that could help you maintain a good health and prevent dehydration or sometimes a feeding tube to aid in bypassing the food through the dysfunctional esophagus.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People who experience swallowing difficulty and if the condition persists for a long time, also have pain while swallowing, have a sensation while swallowing near the pharynx that may suggest difficulty in swallowing, or have GERD quite often are eligible for the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If a person feels difficulty in swallowing a solid or liquid food momentarily and the condition is not persistent, then the person is not eligible for treatment of dysphagia.

Are there any side effects?

Normally the treatment of treatment for difficulty swallowing does not have any side effects and can be done safely and effectively. Medications like corticosteroids and muscle relaxants can have some side effects like easy bruising, thinning of the skin, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, blurred vision, muscle weakness, drowsiness and fatigue and loss of appetite.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

After the treatment has been received it is suggested that the patient takes soft or liquid food, keep hydrated by having lot of water and juices and avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine which can worsen heartburn.

How long does it take to recover?

The recovery time may depend upon the cause of the problem. If the difficulty in swallowing is due to narrow esophagus or tight esophageal sphincter muscle or due to GERD then the surgical treatment or treatment with medication may take only a few days to recover. But if the underlying cause is due to a nervous disorder like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, then it may take more than a year or longer as these disorders cannot be cured completely.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of treatment of difficulty swallowing in India ranges from Rs. 300 to Rs. 2,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Yes, the results of the treatment are permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The condition normally requires treatment like medication, help in learning swallowing techniques and surgery. But in some cases it can be treated with lifestyle changes and home remedies too. Difficulty swallowing can be treated by changing eating habits like taking small, frequent meals and chew food thoroughly before swallowing it. Person with difficulty swallowing can also avoid certain foods that cause them trouble in swallowing like juice, coffee, peanut butter, caramel etc. Such people should also avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, alcohol consumption and caffeine.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am having difficulty swallowing and tightness and aching below my chin and side of my neck. It is making it very hard to eat, and it feels like the food is going down slowly and it makes me panic. I'm a 31 year old male, 6 foot 3 and weigh 17stone 5lbs, I am not fat I am muscular and pretty fit. I am asthmatic, currently taking lansoprazole for heart burn and acid, I also take sertraline for depression and I am allergic to penicillin.

MS-Speech and Language Pathology, Bachelor of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology (B.A.S.L.P)
Speech Therapist, Delhi
Dear Lybrate user .you are taking medicine of depreesion sertraline. May be side effect of medicine .becz your age and history indicate no any other problem .generally swallowing problem arise due to stroke .yaa neurogenic issues but in your case ...

My mother is 66 years old. Operated with brain tumor 17 years back. She is schizophrenic as well. She is facing difficulty swallowing food and even consuming liquid food. What might be the reason for this.

MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
Please get an OGD scopy done by a gastroenterologist. They need to rule out benign as well as malignant causes of dysphagia.
1 person found this helpful

Popular Health Tips

Symptoms Of Gastrointestinal Problems!

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, DM - Gastroenterology, Fellowship in Advanced endoscopy, Fellowship in Endoscopic Ultrasound(EUS), Observer fellowship in NBI and ESD, Fellowship in Hepatology
Gastroenterologist, Bhopal
Symptoms Of Gastrointestinal Problems!
Gastrointestinal Disorders Symptoms - a. Dysphagia: It means difficulty in swallowing. Dysphagia is due to problems in the brain or food pipe. The causes of dysphagia are a stroke, oesophagal web or stricture, oesophagal growth or cancer, motility...
1503 people found this helpful

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

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 th...
3645 people found this helpful

Achalasia - Symptoms + Treatment

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 ...
2981 people found this helpful

Difficulty in Swallowing - Are You at Risk of Dysphagia?

MBBS, MS - ENT, DNB (ENT)
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Difficulty in Swallowing - Are You at Risk of Dysphagia?
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 st...
2627 people found this helpful

Rheumatic Fever in Kids - How It Impacts Your Child?

M.D(Pediatrics), MBBS
Pediatrician, Rewari
Rheumatic Fever in Kids - How It Impacts Your Child?
Rheumatic fever is a kind of autoimmune ailment that can occur as a result of group A streptococcal throat infection leading to inflammatory lesions in the connective tissues of the body. This disease specifically affects the joints, heart, blood ...
2437 people found this helpful
Content Details
Written By
MBBS,Diploma in Otorhinolaryngology (DLO),Diploma In Otorhinolaryngology (DLO)
Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT)
Play video
Difficulty In Urination
Hello! I am Dr. Piyush Singhania, Urologist, practicing in Navi Mumbai. Today I will talk about a very common problem i.e. difficulty in urination. It can be of 2 types. 1st: Patient can't store it well and they have to rush to the bathroom every ...
Play video
Oral Cancer - Know The Causes And Symptoms
Hi everybody, I am Dr. Ashish Goel,Surgical Oncology. So today we will talk about oral cancer. As we are all aware there has been a recent increase in the incidences of oral cancer and the main reason behind this is the increasing usage of tobacco...
Play video
Adenoid Tonsillitis
Hi, I am Dr. Vivek Kumar Pathak, MBBS MS ENT. I am an ENT specialist. Today I am going to discuss about the medical condition which is called Adenoid tonsillitis. So what are tonsils? Tonsils are nothing but they are a connection of lymphatic tiss...
Play video
Childhood Illnesses And How Can Homeopathy Help?
Hello everyone! I am Dr. Kriti Mathur, I am a homeopathic physician practicing in Gurgaon. I have done my BHMS from Delhi; I have also done post graduation in counselling and behavior modification and in nutrition. So basically I treat my patients...
Play video
Eesophageal Cancer
Hello everybody. I am Dr. Arun Kumar Giri, senior consultant surgical oncologist. Carcinoma oesophagus is one of the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. It is the seventh most common cancer, occurring more commonly in males and sometimes ...
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice