Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing is when a person has a problem getting food or liquid to pass down the throat. Some may cough or choke, while others have pain and feel that food is stuck in the throat. What are the causes that lead to difficulty in swallowing?
It could be a result of cancer, especially throat or esophageal cancers. These cancers cause the esophagus to be narrowed. Side effects of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy can also cause difficulty swallowing which include soreness, pain or inflammation in the throat or mouth. Infections of the esophagus or mouth, or dry mouth from radiation treatment and chemotherapy are further causes.
Your doctor can recommend you to a speech therapist. The latter is specialized in helping persons to use muscles in the mouth and throat. He will also teach you how to swallow with ease and avoid choking.
Medications can be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Some pain medications are used as a mouth rinse just before eating. Sometimes, it may be necessary to be fed through a tube that passes from the nose into the stomach. This is called a neogastric tube.
Here are some tips if you have difficulty in swallowing.
- Eat soft and smooth foods like ice cream, puddings or yogurt.
- Moisten dry foods with milk, sauces and soup.
- Eat cold or foods at room temperature.
- Take small bites and masticate properly.
- If you are losing weight, consume foods high in protein that will give you a balanced diet.
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