Dysphagia in Florida
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a term used to describe a person's difficulty or inability to eat or drink food and/or liquid. There can be several reasons why an individual might experience dysphagia. It could be a result of muscle spasms in the throat or esophagus because they did not masticate (chew) their food well enough or other internal complications. Dysphagia can also refer to the sensation of food being stuck in one's chest or neck. Should you experience such symptoms and need care for dysphagia in Florida, there is help available. Reach out to our skilled GI providers at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida at your earliest convenience to learn more about options we can provide to assist you in getting back to an improved life.
What causes dysphagia?
There are two variations of dysphagia and the causes are unique for both types.
The type referred to as oropharyngeal dysphagia involves difficulty beginning a swallow. Neuromuscular factors are more common with this variety of dysphagia. This is because of the fact that the muscles of the mouth, the back side of your throat, and the upper esophagus share direct connections with the brain. Nerves in these structures can be damaged, causing complications with swallowing.
In some cases, narrowed areas in the esophagus (strictures) or tumors developing in the posterior portion of the throat can lead to trouble with swallowing.
Esophageal dysphagia has a variety of causes, some of the most typical being:
- Achalasia (the condition wherein the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is unable to relax during swallowing due to a problem with nerve control)
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Esophageal scarring from reflux (GERD)
- Spasms in the esophagus
- Esophageal muscle weakness
- Blockage by a foreign body in the esophagus
- Inflammation in the esophagus due to reflux
To get assistance for both types of dysphagia, schedule a consultation with our GI providers at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida.
What are the symptoms of dysphagia?
The typical symptoms and signs of dysphagia include (but are not limited to):
- The sensation of food being stuck in your throat or chest
- Pain in the chest
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Pain while swallowing
- Food or liquid regurgitates via your nose
- Inability to swallow
- Acid reflux
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Gagging or coughing while swallowing
- Unwanted weight loss
If you notice any of the above symptoms of dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, please call our gastroenterology practice in Florida to meet with our GI providers at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At Gastroenterology Associates of Florida, we provide a number of treatment options to help address the personalized needs of our patients. The most common dysphagia treatments include:
- Implementing exercises to re-stimulate nerves that initiate the swallowing reflex
- Implementing different swallowing techniques
- Surgical intervention
- Esophageal dilation
- Medications to reduce acid reflux, muscle relaxers, or corticosteroids
- Special liquid diet or feeding tube (for extreme cases)
We can help your swallowing difficulties subside
If you or a member of your family are dealing with the symptoms of dysphagia in Florida, help is available. Schedule a meeting with a GI provider at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida today if you experience any combination of the above symptoms consistently. It is vital to see your provider as soon as possible if weight loss or vomiting is present along with any trouble swallowing.
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