Swallowing Disorders in Tuscaloosa

Swallowing disorders, also known as dysphagia, can occur at the oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal phases of the swallowing process. There are different diseases, conditions, and surgical interventions that result in problems with swallowing. Some signs that you may have a swallowing disorder include:

  • Coughing during or after drinking or eating
  • Needing extra effort to chew or swallow
  • Leaking of food or liquid from the mouth or food getting stuck in the mouth
  • Weight loss or dehydration

Epiglottitis

Epiglottitis is a condition where the epiglottis swells, causing a hoarse voice. There are many factors that can cause the epiglottis to swell, including infections, injury to the throat, and burns from hot liquids. This condition can be dangerous since it can inhibit the ability for air to flow into the lungs. This condition is considered a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of epiglottitis, contact your doctor ASAP, or visit an emergency room.

How Are Swallowing Disorders Diagnosed?

There are a variety of steps required to diagnose a swallowing disorder. Patients will have to share a history of medical conditions and symptoms. One of our ENT physicians will test the strength and movement of the muscles used for swallowing and observe movements and posture during drinking and eating.

Treatment for Swallowing Disorders

The type of treatment needed will be dependent upon symptoms and the cause of the swallowing disorder. It may be recommended that a patient undergo specific swallowing exercises to improve muscle movement, use specific strategies to help swallow more efficiently, or stick to food or liquid textures that are easier to swallow. In some cases, it may be required to undergo an endoscopy procedure, in which a long, thin scope can be used to locate and remove any object that is blocking the esophagus.

If your swallowing issues are due to GERD, heartburn, or esophagitis, your doctor may prescribe prescription medications to help reduce stomach acid. Infections in the esophagus can also be treated with medication.

Patients in the Tuscaloosa area can call our office to schedule a consultation. You can be sure that our ENT specialists will take the time to correctly diagnose and treat your swallowing disorder.

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