Swallowing Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment by Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists
posted: Feb. 12, 2024.
Swallowing disorders can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. They can make you anxious and fearful of eating or drinking. Fortunately, your ear, nose, and throat specialist is an expert at diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders.
What You Need To Know About Swallowing Disorders
A swallowing disorder is also known as dysphagia. You may have a swallowing disorder if you experience symptoms like these:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain when swallowing
- A sensation of a lump in your throat
- Coughing during or after eating or drinking
- Clearing your throat often after eating or drinking
- Having a difficult time breathing after eating
You might develop difficulty swallowing due to:
- Acid reflux
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Esophageal growths
- Esophageal cancer
- Head or neck injuries
- Surgery to your mouth or neck
- Dental issues or missing teeth
If you are having swallowing difficulties, you need the expertise of a specialist, an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Your ENT specialist may recommend testing, which can include:
A barium x-ray, during which you drink a barium solution to coat the esophagus. This makes it easier to view the esophagus on an x-ray.
An endoscopy, uses a thin, flexible tube, known as an endoscope, with a camera attached to one end. The endoscope is inserted into your mouth and guided down into your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine. The ENT specialist can view your esophagus and other structures, looking for abnormal growths or areas of abnormal tissue. If abnormal areas are found, they can be removed and sent off for a biopsy to determine whether the tissue is benign or cancerous.
Depending on what is causing your swallowing disorder, your ENT specialist may recommend:
- Medications to reduce stomach acid
- Medications to reduce esophageal spasm
- Dietary modifications
- Surgical treatment including stent placement to open a narrowed esophagus
Want To Know More About Swallowing Disorders and Treatments?
To find out more about swallowing disorders and how your ear, nose, and throat doctor can help, talk with your ENT specialist today.