Print
Request Appointment

Understanding Dysphagia

Outline of woman showing mouth, esophagus, and stomach.If you have a problem swallowing foods or liquids, you may have dysphagia. This condition has a number of causes. Your healthcare provider can find out what is causing your problem and help relieve your symptoms.

When You Swallow

Your tongue pushes foods or liquids from your mouth to your throat as you eat or drink and swallow. They then pass down the esophagus (a muscular tube) into the stomach. To keep foods or liquids moving, the esophagus muscles tighten and relax in wavelive motions.

Causes of dysphagia

With dysphagia, foods or liquids do not easily pass down the esophagus. Dysphagia may happen if the esophagus walls thicken, causing a narrowing (stricture) of the passage. Dysphagia can also be caused by any of the following:

  • A problem in the esophagus, such as an ulcer, stricture, irritation, infection, inflammation, or cancer

  • Muscles in your mouth, throat, or esophagus that don’t work right or are not coordinated

  • A nerve or brain problem (such as a stroke) that leaves your mouth, tongue, or throat muscles weak or changes how your muscles coordinate

Common symptoms

If you have dysphagia, you may:

  • Feel chest pressure or pain when you swallow

  • Choke or cough when swallowing

  • Vomit after eating or drinking

  • Regurgitate food or liquid out your nose 

  • Aspirate (inhale into the lungs) foods or liquids when you swallow

  • Have fatigue and weight loss

 

Was this helpful?

Yes No
 

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.
 
 
 
 
 
NEXT ▶

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
 
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
 
 
(c) 2017 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.