Dysphagia is a disorder that causes difficulty in swallowing and successfully moving food from the mouth to the stomach. For some, dysphagia causes pain and involuntary expulsion of food. For others, it is simply an inconvenience that manifests only occasionally. Many factors can affect the severity of dysphagia, including age and pre-existing conditions. In severe cases, having dysphagia means being unable to swallow at all. Read here to learn about the top 10 symptoms of dysphagia,
When you have dysphagia, it is difficult for you to swallow. Some sufferers can swallow liquids without trouble but have difficulty swallowing food and pills. Other people have difficulty swallowing both liquids and solids. When you are affected by this condition, it might feel as if something is stuck in your throat. You may also feel as if you cannot control the muscles of the throat. This ailment can affect anyone regardless of age and general health, but it is most likely to affect people who have certain gastrointestinal conditions, such as GERD. It also tends to affect people who have suffered a stroke or a motor neuron disease. Consult your doctor if this condition persists.
If you have dysphagia, you might notice excessive saliva production and drooling. Medically, drooling is known as ptyalism, and it refers to the spillage of saliva over the lower lip. An overactive salivary gland usually causes drooling, but it can also be caused by other malfunctions of the mouth and throat. Difficulty swallowing can also trigger drooling because you cannot correctly clear the mouth of excess saliva by swallowing. In many cases, drooling can be treated by using home remedies or by receiving professional help.
Another sign of dysphagia is a related condition known as odynophagia, which refers to pain when swallowing. The pain is often localized in the throat, but it can also be felt around the mouth. Sometimes the pain is described as an ache or a burning sensation, but it can also be described in more serious terms as a stabbing pain. It may radiate from the mouth to different parts of the throat. Consuming certain types of foods is likely to cause odynophagia. Foods that are especially harmful are hot or cold food and drinks. Certain medications may also trigger pain.
Regurgitation of Food
The regurgitation of food is another unpleasant symptom of dysphagia. This can occur for many reasons, and it is often involuntary. Regurgitation is the spitting up of food from the stomach. Normally, the sphincter muscle between the stomach and the esophagus prevents this from happening. Some foods can result in a more harsh regurgitation; for example, bitter or acidic foods will cause you to vomit more acid originating from the stomach. In most cases, regurgitation happens because of a condition that affects the stomach or the esophagus, but dysphagia can also trigger it.
Losing weight can often be a result of dysphagia. When you have difficulty swallowing, you consume less food, which leads to weight loss. If weight loss becomes severe, you need to seek medical attention. Some people find it useful to cut up food into smaller pieces to help them swallow. Foods that are tough to chew are particularly likely to be difficult to swallow. Weight loss may also point to several other causes, such as a malignant tumor. This is especially true for people who experience rapid weight loss through the course of a few days or weeks. If you experience a rapid, unexplained decrease in weight, talk to your doctor.
Sensation of Something in the Throat
One of the most common complaints of dysphagia patients is a feeling that something is stuck in the throat. In most cases, however, there isn’t anything in the throat. If you have esophageal dysphagia, which is a form of dysphagia, you are more likely to experience this symptom. The cause usually has to do with the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Mechanical causes may also be to blame. In rare cases, a tumor or non-benign growth may be the culprit. If you feel that something is stuck in your throat, consult your doctor for further evaluation.
Hoarseness is another symptom that may accompany dysphagia. In general terms, hoarseness refers to a weak or altered voice, making it difficult to say words clearly. Vocal fatigue is another term used to describe hoarseness. It might feel as if your vocal cords aren’t working properly. When you have difficulty swallowing, the muscles of the throat may be the cause. These same muscles may also affect the vocal cords, causing you to have a hoarse voice. Overuse of the vocal cords may also lead to a tremulous voice. To treat hoarseness, rest your voice for a period.
A possible sign of dysphagia is heartburn, which usually appears in people who smoke or drink an excessive amount of alcohol. Other factors, such as pregnancy and age, may increase your chances of developing heartburn. Heartburn is a condition that causes a burning sensation in the lower chest. It also causes a bitter taste to appear in the throat or the mouth. Heartburn occurs after eating a meal, and certain foods can worsen the condition. Sometimes, heartburn can last up to a few hours, but it can be easily treated in most cases. Consult your doctor for more information.
A possible indication that you have dysphagia is food aspiration. This is a particularly unpleasant symptom that appears in many people, and it might put you off from eating food you normally enjoy. Food aspiration means that when you eat or swallow, the food doesn’t go to the right place; it might end up in the windpipe, causing you to react by coughing violently. It might even make you feel as if you are choking. Food aspiration usually happens when you eat large quantities of food or if you swallow too hard. Other conditions may also trigger this symptom.
Gagging While Swallowing
Lastly, you may experience gagging while you swallow. This is yet another painful symptom that many patients with dysphagia have to deal with. When attempting to swallow, you may involuntarily start gagging. This can cause you to spit out the recently swallowed food. Because this symptom is involuntary, it might make eating certain foods very challenging. A corollary effect is weight loss, which may be severe in certain cases. Some foods and liquids are more suitable for people with dysphagia, as they may be easier to swallow. If you have trouble swallowing food, consult your doctor.