Dysphagia in Houston, TX
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is the label for a person's struggle or inability to eat or drink food or liquid. There can be a variety of explanations as to why you may have dysphagia. It might be because of spasms in your digestive muscles, because you didn’t masticate (chew) your food sufficiently, or additional internal issues. Dysphagia can also refer to the feeling of food being caught in your neck or chest area. If you notice these symptoms and need treatment for dysphagia in Houston, TX, help is available. Contact our highly trained gastrointestinal physicians at Gastroenterology Consultants at your earliest convenience to find out more regarding solutions we can offer to assist you in getting back to a better life.
What causes dysphagia?
Dysphagia presents in two different varieties, each with its own distinct root causes.
The type referred to as oropharyngeal dysphagia describes trouble when starting to swallow. Neuromuscular factors are more frequent in this variety of dysphagia. This is a result of the fact that the muscles found in the mouth, the back side of the throat, and the upper esophagus directly connect with the brain. Nerves in these locations can be damaged, causing complications with swallowing.
On some occasions, strictures (narrowed areas in the esophagus) or tumors forming in the posterior portion of the throat can cause you to have a hard time swallowing.
The condition referred to as esophageal dysphagia has numerous causes, a few of the most common being:
- Foreign body blockage in the esophagus
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Esophageal scarring from acid reflux (GERD)
- Esophageal spasms
- Swelling in the esophagus from acid reflux
- Esophageal muscle weakness
- Achalasia (when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can't relax while swallowing because of a problem with nerve control)
What are some symptoms of dysphagia?
The most commonly observed signs of dysphagia may include (but are not limited to):
- Loss of voice
- Food or liquid regurgitates through your nose
- The feeling that food is stuck in your chest or throat
- Coughing or gagging when swallowing
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Discomfort when swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lack of ability to swallow
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Pain in the chest
- Acid reflux
If you notice any of the above symptoms of dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, please call our gastroenterology practice in Houston, TX to meet with a specialist.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At Gastroenterology Consultants, our providers offer a variety of treatment options to help meet each patient's individual needs. The most common treatments for dysphagia include:
- Practicing exercises to re-stimulate the nerves that initiate the swallowing reflex
- Practicing different swallowing techniques
- Surgical intervention
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Medications for reduction of acid reflux, muscle relaxers, or corticosteroids
- A liquid diet or feeding tube (for severe cases)
We can help your swallowing difficulties subside
If you or a member of your family are troubled by symptoms of dysphagia in Houston, TX, help is available. Schedule a consultation with a gastrointestinal physician at Gastroenterology Consultants as soon as possible if you experience any combination of the listed symptoms regularly. It is essential to see your physician promptly if loss of weight or vomiting is present along with any difficulty swallowing.
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