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Difficulty Swallowing & Esophageal Disorders

Difficulty Swallowing

  1. Swallowing difficulties can be disconcerting. There are many disorders that can affect the esophagus and working with our is a complex coordination of muscles in the mouth, throat and esophagus. You may feel like you have something caught in your chest or throat after you swallow. You may also experience choking when you swallow as well. This requires a thorough medical evaluation as there can be some life-threatening conditions that can cause difficulty swallowing.

 Esophageal Dysphagias

This results in a sensation of food getting stuck in the base of your throat or chest, This can be caused by:

The sphincter (lower esophageal muscle) doesn’t relax properly
Poorly coordinated contractions of the esophagus after swallowing
A narrowed esophagus (stricture)
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

 Orophryngeal Dysphagias

Some conditions can weaken the throat muscles:

MS and Parkinson’s Disease, as well as neurological damage from things such as a stroke or a spinal cord injury
Diverticula, which is the formation of small pouch in the upper esophagus
Certain cancers can cause this type of dysphagia

Tests the help evaluate difficulty swallowing

An in-office visit, radiologic swallowing studies and endoscopy are the cornerstone of evaluating difficulty swallowing. In many cases a simple dilation of a narrowing in the esophagus can resolve the problem. In other cases, medications may be required help the esophagus work correctly. In other cases, cancer of the esophagus is present and early detection with endoscopy could save your life. We have offices in Salt Lake and Utah Counties to conveniently serve you.