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Swallowing Disorders

Also called: Dysphagia

Summary

If you have a swallowing disorder, you may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Some people cannot swallow at all. Others may have trouble swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva. This makes it hard to eat. Often, it can be difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish your body.

Anyone can have a swallowing disorder, but it is more likely in the elderly. It often happens because of other conditions, including

  • Nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and cerebral palsy
  • Problems with your esophagus, including GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Stroke
  • Head or spinal cord injury
  • Cancer of the head, neck, or esophagus

Medicines can help some people, while others may need surgery. Swallowing treatment with a speech-language pathologist can help. You may find it helpful to change your diet or hold your head or neck in a certain way when you eat. In very serious cases, people may need feeding tubes.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in
  • (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (National Jewish Health)
  • (National Jewish Health)
  • (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in

Living With

  • (American Cancer Society) Also in

Related Issues

  • (International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders)

Specifics

  • (American Stroke Association)
  • (Dystonia Medical Research Foundation)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Health Check Tools

  • (DSHI Systems)

Videos and Tutorials

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in

Find an Expert

  • (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

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