One in 25 Americans struggle with dysphagia, living with the uncomfortable and often painful sensation of having food stuck in their throat or neck. The board-certified gastroenterologists and skilled medical team at Palmadessa and Brodsky Gastroenterology Associates in Douglaston, New York, help patients overcome swallowing problems, restoring their ability to eat and preventing complications such as nutritional deficiencies and aspiration pneumonia. If you have a hard time swallowing or have questions about your symptoms, call Palmadessa and Brodsky Gastroenterology Associates or schedule an appointment online today.
Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, occurs when you can’t get food, liquids, or other items like pills to go through your mouth and down your throat and esophagus. Difficulty swallowing can occur at any age, but you’re more likely to develop the problem when you’re older.
There are two types of dysphagia: esophageal dysphagia and oropharyngeal dysphagia. Each one has specific causes.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and muscular dystrophy are a few examples of neurological disorders that lead to dysphagia.
The primary symptom of dysphagia is the feeling that something is stuck in your throat. You may also develop symptoms such as:
When you have esophageal dysphagia, you may be able to swallow normally, but as food gets stuck in your esophagus, you’ll feel a lump or pain in your neck or chest.
If you have oropharyngeal dysphagia, you’re at risk of aspirating foods or fluids into your windpipe, which can lead to pneumonia.
Your doctor at Palmadessa and Brodsky Gastroenterology Associates may perform one or more diagnostic tests to determine why you have dysphagia. You may need a swallowing study, an esophageal muscle test, an X-ray, or other diagnostic imaging. In many cases, you’ll need an upper endoscopy so your doctor can visually examine your esophagus and take needed biopsies.
Since there are many possible underlying causes, your treatment is individualized to focus on your unique problem. You may need to learn swallowing techniques or exercises to coordinate muscles.
In some cases, your doctor at Palmadessa and Brodsky Gastroenterology Associates performs an endoscopic procedure to treat esophageal problems. There are also a variety of medications to treat underlying problems such as acid reflux or esophageal inflammation.
Don’t wait to get help for dysphagia. At the first sign of swallowing difficulty, call Palmadessa and Brodsky Gastroenterology Associates or schedule an appointment online.