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What are the Different Types of Dysphagia Treatment?

A.E. Freeman
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are different types of treatment for dysphagia, which involves difficulty swallowing, depending on the type of dysphagia a person has. If a person struggles to move food down her esophagus, the types of dysphagia treatment include medication, dilation of the esophagus, and in some cases surgery. People who have trouble pushing food into their esophagus from the mouth may need to learn how to swallow and practice exercises for treatment.

A person with dysphagia may feel as though pieces of food are getting stuck in her throat. She may not be able to swallow the food she is eating or may choke on saliva when she tries to swallow. Other symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation as well as a sore throat and hoarse voice.

Several things cause trouble swallowing. In some cases, a person's esophagus muscle may not function properly. Certain conditions, such as GERD or cerebral palsy, can cause dysphagia. Other causes include smoking, taking certain medicines, and stroke.

A common dysphagia treatment involves exercises that train the brain and body to swallow properly. Exercises generally help people with oropharyngeal dyspagia, meaning they struggle to push from the mouth to the esophagus. The exercises train the nerves needed to swallow to respond properly. Another option for people with oropharyngeal dysphagia is learning how to swallow properly, which involves learning how to hold the head and place food in the mouth so that it slides down the esophagus as it's supposed to.

Esophageal dysphagia treatment may involve medication. A person with esophageal dysphagia may feel as though the food is stuck in her throat. Medication works best for people with esophageal dysphagia and GERD, as in some cases the medication for GERD treats the signs of dysphagia as well. Other patients may be prescribed medications that relax the esophagus muscle.

Endoscopy is another dysphagia treatment. The endoscope can remove any obstruction in the esophagus. A doctor may also use an endoscope to dilate the esophagus. In some cases, a balloon is attached to the endoscope, which inflates, stretching the esophagus. Other types of dilation involve threading a tube down the esophagus to widen it.

If the dysphagia is caused by a tumor on the esophagus, surgery may be needed. Patients with pharyngeal diverticula usually also need surgery to treat dysphagia. In some cases, a patient's condition may be so severe that he needs to limit the types of food he eats. Some patients may consume only liquids, while others may need to be placed on a feeding tube.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A.E. Freeman
By A.E. Freeman , Former Writer
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and retention. With a background in the arts, she combines her writing prowess with best practices to deliver compelling content across various domains and effectively connect with target audiences.

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A.E. Freeman

A.E. Freeman

Former Writer

Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and...
Learn more
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