Swallowing Disorders

A swallowing disorder is characterized by someone having difficulty or pain when swallowing. Some people are not able to swallow at all, while others have trouble swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva. This can be caused by nervous system disorders, a stroke, a spinal cord injury, or a structural problem in the esophagus that causes a narrowing or blockage.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Choking while eating
  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Recurrent heartburn
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Inability to control saliva in the mouth

Treatment Options:

Treatment options for swallowing disorders typically vary depending on the severity of the condition. A doctor may recommend swallowing therapy, a change in diet, or eating through a tube. In some cases where it is caused by a narrowing in the esophagus, an upper endoscopy may be used to dilate, or stretch, the esophagus.