Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia, is a condition characterized by the feeling that normal swallowing of food or drink is difficult or that swallowing requires more effort than usual. In some cases, swallowing can be accompanied by pain. There’s a wide range of possible causes that can contribute to difficulty swallowing. The sensation may occur one-time, may sporadically come and go, or it may be constant.
While occasional difficulty swallowing may not be serious and may coincide with eating too quickly or not chewing your food properly, persistent dysphagia may be an indication of a more serious issue that warrants evaluation from an experienced NYC gastroenterologist. No matter what the cause of your difficulty swallowing, a consultation with Dr. Anthony Borcich is the first step to determining what’s making this symptom occur and learning about what treatments can relieve your discomfort and improve your quality of life. Dr. Borcich has decades of experience providing treatment for dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and is known for his compassionate and personalized care. Contact us to schedule an appointment for dysphagia treatment and relief.
What causes difficulty swallowing?
There are numerous possible causes of dysphagia, which may be related to the esophagus, throat or neurological disorders, among other things. Difficulty swallowing may be caused by:
- Dry mouth
- Esophageal muscle weakness (achalasia)
- Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture)
- Muscle spasms in the esophagus (diffuse spasm)
- Esophageal tumors
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Pharyngeal diverticula
- Food allergies
- Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease
- Neurological damage
- Cancer of the esophagus or stomach
Due to the extensive number of potential causes leading to difficulty swallowing, a proper evaluation with a top Manhattan GI doctor is critical for making a diagnosis and determining your treatment options.
What symptoms are associated with difficulty swallowing?
Dysphagia may cause or coincide with other symptoms, which may include:
- Coughing or choking when trying to swallow
- Pain while swallowing (odynophagia)
- Inability to swallow
- Acid reflux & heartburn
- Weight loss
- Sensation of food being stuck in the throat
How is dysphagia / difficulty swallowing treated?
The first step to determining the proper treatment for your painful swallowing symptoms begins with diagnosis. Dr. Borcich will start with a thorough evaluation, including a review of your medical history and your symptoms. Often times, one or more tests may be recommended in order to make an accurate dysphagia diagnosis. Tests may involve upper endoscopy, laryngoscopy or fluoroscopy in order to view the esophagus and identify where problems are occurring.
Once the cause of your difficulty swallowing has been identified, Dr. Borcich will be able to recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Conservative treatments such as medications and diet modifications are always the first options explored. Some medications may be effective at improving esophagus symptoms. In some cases, Dr. Borcich may refer you to a swallowing therapist to learn techniques and exercises designed to help improve swallowing. When surgery is necessary, patients of Dr. Borcich have access to the latest, state-of-the-art surgical options as well.
If difficulty swallowing is severe or chronic, an evaluation with an experienced Manhattan gastroenterologist is the first step to finding relief. Anthony Borcich, M.D. specializes in diagnosing and treating issues of the throat and esophagus that lead to dysphagia and is known for his compassionate care and personalized approach. Schedule an appointment today by contacting our office or filling out the schedule appointment form on this page.