Having problems swallowing what the Presidential candidates are dishing out? Well, you are not alone. Millions of people are too. But not all swallowing issues are political. If you’re literally having problems swallowing, you may be having "dysphagia". This is not a disease itself but a symptom that may be a sign of disease. Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing: "a disruption of the swallowing process which interferes with a person's ability to eat."
The sensation of dysphagia can include coughing or choking with swallowing, food sticking in the throat or upper chest and a feeling of food getting stuck.
There are MANY causes of dysphagia. In babies, it can be a sign of gastro‐esophageal reflux, muscular issues such as cerebral palsy and developmental abnormalities. In older children, large tonsils can commonly cause dysphagia of sorts.
In the adults, it is important to differentiate the sensation of a swallowing issue from a true issue with food not going down. In the former, the causes can be dry mucus membranes, acid reflux and side effects from medications...and stress too.
But true dysphagia can be a sign of serious illnesses in adults. Neurological and muscular issues, inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, tumors in the throat and esophagus, among other problems, can all cause difficulty swallowing.
Our ear, nose and throat doctors in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties can evaluate swallowing disorders. This will include a thorough history and exam and, often, some tests such as a swallowing x‐ray or an esophagoscopy.
If you or your family member is having dysphagia or any difficulty swallowing, visit one of our ENT offices in Norwalk, Ridgefield, Danbury, New Milford and Southbury, and let and an ear, nose and throat specialist help you with diagnosis and treatment options.