Swallowing is a complex process and for food to reach our stomach number of nerves and muscles work together. Difficulty in swallowing can begin from any part of the mouth, esophagus, or throat. The esophagus is the tube responsible for carrying food to your stomach.
The swallowing disorder can be severe or light and the treatment depends on what is the reason behind the problem.
The process of swallowing takes place in three steps. A person with a swallowing disorder may face difficulty in any of these phases:
Mouth (Oral Phase): food intake, chewing, and moving food in your throat
Throat (Pharyngeal Phase): Food began to travel down to the throat. It is required that food do not get in contact with your airway as it results in choking and coughing.
Esophageal Phase: When food is traveling its way to the stomach it might get stuck in the esophagus. If it happens then you might throw up or experience acid reflux.
Types of swallowing disorder
Oropharyngeal dysphagia is the result of throat nerves and muscles disorder. The disorder makes muscles lose their strength and people start facing difficulty in swallowing andmight cough or choke. Also, people began to experience pain in their chest or throat when they swallow food.
Esophageal dysphagia is the feeling of something being stuck in the throat continuously. People get the sensation of food getting regurgitated. While swallowing people experience coughing or choking.
Swallowing Disorder Signs
- Coughing when you eat or drink something
- Not able to talk clearly when you eat or drink
- Right after eating feeling like something is stuck in throat or chest
- Taking long to swallow food
- Not able to breathe properly after eating
- Weight loss
Problems associated with a swallowing disorder
- Not able to receive proper nutrition
- Food items entering into aspiration(air-way)
- Acid reflux
- Infection in lungs
Conditions causing swallowing disorder
Several conditions might result in swallowing disorder. Taking a few medicines results in dryness in the mouth and you might start facing difficulty in swallowing because of it.
Some other causes are:
Brain damage or nerves damage because of spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease.