Swallowing usually is something people do without even thinking about it. Even so, when someone has a swallowing disorder, he or she may have difficulty getting food to go down. Age, genetics, and an underlying physical condition such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy can make people more susceptible to a swallowing disorder as well.
What Is A Swallowing Disorder?
Difficulty swallowing is something most people experience from time to time. However, when it happens on a regular basis, a swallowing disorder could be to blame.
A swallowing disorder can occur in one of three phases. The first is the oral phase, which involves chewing your food and moving it into your throat. In the pharyngeal phase, you are beginning to swallow and must close off your airway to keep food from going down it. During the esophageal phase, your body is opening and closing the esophagus and squeezing food as it makes its way down into the stomach. A number of conditions can result in swallowing problems, so you will need thorough testing and examination to determine the exact cause.
What Are The Common Symptoms?
You may have a swallowing disorder if:
• You regularly experience coughing fits while eating (or immediately afterward)
• Food seems to get caught in your mouth or throat.
• It becomes necessary to chew your food into tiny bites before swallowing
• You notice a gurgling sound while eating or drinking
How Are Swallowing Disorders Treated?
The exact treatment for a swallowing disorder will vary based upon the condition you have. Medication, surgery, and changes in diet are often recommended for those with a swallowing disorder. Eat slowly, take smaller bites, and chew your food well to avoid getting it caught in your throat. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your throat and esophagus well hydrated and facilitate the swallowing process.