Font Size
A
A
A

Dysphagia (Swallowing Problems) (cont.)

Dysphagia Symptoms

Depending upon the cause of the dysphagia, the difficulty swallowing can be mild or severe. Some affected individuals may have trouble swallowing both solids and liquids, while others may experience problems only when attempting to swallow solid foods. Occasionally, there is more trouble with liquid than solid food.

  • If there is aspiration of food (most common with liquids), swallows may induce coughing due to entrance of the liquid into the voice box (larynx) at the top of the trachea or into the lungs.
  • If solid food becomes lodged in the lower throat, it may induce choking and gagging and interfere with breathing.
  • If solid food lodges in the esophagus, it may be felt as severe chest discomfort.
  • If food stuck in the lower esophagus regurgitates at night, individuals may awaken coughing and choking due to food entering the throat, larynx, or lungs.
  • Less commonly, swallowed food may regurgitate effortlessly into the mouth immediately after it is swallowed.

If dysphagia is associated with aspiration of food into the lungs, aspiration pneumonia may occur with all of the symptoms of pneumonia (fever, chills, and respiratory distress). This is a particular danger in individuals who have had a stroke. Dysphagia is present in approximately 51%-73% of individuals with stroke, and poses a major risk for the development of aspiration phneumonia.

Other symptoms associated with dysphagia depend upon its exact cause and are specific to the condition that results in dysphagia, such as stroke, cancer, etc.

When to Seek Medical Care for Dysphagia

If you are experiencing difficulty swallowing, you should contact your health care professional for an evaluation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Dysphagia (Swallowing Problems)

Acid Reflux (GERD)
Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) Acid reflux (GERD) is caused by acid backing up from the stomach. Causes of acid reflux include learn more >>
Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms
Alzheimer's Disease Stages: Symptoms and Signs Alzheimer's disease is one of the many causes of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease typically progress over a period of years. There are warning signs of...learn more >>
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disorder that progressively reduces the sufferer's ability to contol movement. The disease is marked by ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Dysphagia:

Dysphagia - Treatment

What treatment did you receive for your dysphagia?

Dysphagia - Causes

What was the underlying cause of your dysphagia?



Medical Dictionary