Dysphagia or swallowing disorder is a condition when you need more time and effort to move food or fluid from the mouth to the stomach. Dysphagia is also often associated with painful swallowing. In fact, in some cases, the patient can not swallow at all.
This swallowing disorder occurs only occasionally. For example when you eat too fast or do not chew food well. It usually does not require special attention. However, persistent swallowing may be a symptom of a serious medical condition and requires treatment.
This disease can occur at any age, but most often experienced by parents.
To diagnose dysphagia, your doctor will ask you the symptoms. The doctor will also check the body mass index to see if you are lacking nutrients due to difficulty swallowing.
Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination of reflex examination, muscle strength, and patient speech. If all is done, you will be referred to a specialist who is more specific to handle the disease.
Sometimes also required some tests, namely by chest x-ray, barium X-ray, fluoroscopy, laryngoscopy, esophagoscopy, and manometry.
Here are some symptoms that can be caused by dysphagia:
- Pain during swallowing
- Can not afford to swallow
- Food feels stuck inside the throat or behind the mid-breastbone
There is saliva flowing out
- Experiencing an uncomfortable warm and burning sensation in the chest (heartburn)
- Food or stomach acid flows back into the throat
- Unexpected weight loss
- A cough or choke while swallowing
- Cut food into small pieces or avoid certain foods due to difficulty swallowing
- If protracted, dysphagia may cause some complications. Long-term complications include malnutrition, weight loss, dehydration, and respiratory distress.
Generally, dysphagia can improve by itself without therapy. When symptoms are mild, doctors can show how to do exercises to strengthen the muscles in the throat. Doctors can also explain swallowing techniques, which can help you to swallow food without choking.
However, if the problem of swallowing disorders is persistent, it can lead to malnutrition and dehydration especially in very young people or elderly. They can also suffer recurring airway infections and aspiration pneumonia. All of these complications are serious and life-threatening, so treatment is needed as soon as possible.
If the swallowing disorder is caused by throat tightness, esophageal dilatation may be dilated. This procedure uses a small balloon that is inserted into the throat. The balloon will widen the condition of the throat making it easier to use swallowing. In the end, the balloon will be re-issued.
If there is abnormal tissue growth in the throat, surgery may be necessary to remove the growing tissue. Surgery can also be used to remove scar tissue.
If there is an ulcer or acid flow of the stomach up, you will be given medicine to overcome it. In more severe cases, you may need hospitalization and be fed through hoses or food pipes.
Although dysphagia can not be prevented, you can still reduce the risks. The trick is to eat slowly and chew the food well.
If this disorder occurs at home, the things you can do for your initial treatment are:
Changed the way of eating. Try eating in small portions but often. Cut food into small pieces and eat more slowly.
Try the food with different textures. This is to see what foods cause difficulty swallowing. In some people, drinks like coffee and juice can be a problem. Sticky or sticky foods such as peanut or caramel cream can also be difficult to swallow.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine. These three things can aggravate heartburn.
If swallowing occurs chronic then you should immediately consult a doctor. In addition, early detection and immediate treatment can reduce the risk of dysphagia associated with narrowing of the throat.
Dysphagia can be caused by a blockage in the throat, such as a trapped food, a swollen throat, or a disease condition that triggers an inflammation of the throat.
In addition, there are other conditions that can also cause dysphagia, such as:
- Dry throat
- An allergic reaction occurs
- Tongue swelling
- Swelling of the tonsils
- Disease due to backflow of stomach acid or esophageal reflux