If you have a problem swallowing foods or liquids, you may have dysphagia. This health problem has a number of causes. Your healthcare provider can find out what is causing your problem. Treatment can help ease 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. The esophagus muscles tighten and relax in wavelike motions. This keeps foods or liquids moving.
Causes of dysphagia
With dysphagia, foods or liquids do not easily pass down the esophagus. Dysphagia may happen if the esophagus walls thicken. This can cause a narrowing (stricture) of the tube. Dysphagia can also be caused by:
A problem in the esophagus. This may be an ulcer, stricture, irritation, infection, inflammation, or cancer.
A problem with the muscles in your mouth, throat, or esophagus. They don’t work right or are not coordinated.
A nerve or brain problem, such as from a stroke, cerebral palsy, or Parkinson disease. It can leave your mouth, tongue, or throat muscles weak. Or it may change how your muscles work.
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 (breath into the lungs) foods or liquids when you swallow
Have fatigue and weight loss
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