Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)

Gastroenterology located in St. Clair Shores and Macomb, MI
Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)

Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing) services offered in St. Clair Shores and Macomb, MI

Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, is a symptom of an underlying medical condition that inhibits your ability to meet your nutritional needs adequately. The experienced gastroenterology team at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C. in St. Clair Shores and Macomb, Michigan, provides comprehensive evaluations to determine the cause of dysphagia and develop a treatment plan to improve your eating, drinking, and nutrition. To schedule a dysphagia consultation, call the office.

Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing) Q&A

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia means you have difficulty swallowing. You can develop dysphagia from any number of causes, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Esophageal spasms
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Infection in the throat

Swallowing is a complex process that requires muscle and nerve coordination in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Any condition that affects one or more of these parts may lead to dysphagia. 

What are the types of dysphagia?

The body part with swallowing difficulty determines the dysphagia type. These types include:

Oral cavity dysphagia

Oral cavity dysphagia means the swallowing problems are in the mouth. You may have a hard time chewing or struggle to use your tongue to manipulate the food in your mouth.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia

With oropharyngeal dysphagia, you may have a muscular or neurological problem that affects the swallowing mechanism in the throat. 

Esophageal dysphagia

Esophageal dysphagia may mean you have a blockage or muscular problem in your esophagus that affects the movement of food through the tube and into your stomach. 

No matter the type, dysphagia is a serious symptom that affects your ability to eat and drink. It also puts you at risk of choking and aspiration pneumonia. 

What types of tests do I need to diagnose dysphagia?

You may need several tests to determine the type of dysphagia you have. At G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C., the team performs:

Upper endoscopy

During an upper endoscopy, your gastroenterologist uses an endoscope — a thin tube with a light and camera — to evaluate your esophagus, looking for structural abnormalities that might explain your dysphagia. 

Esophageal manometry

An esophageal manometry measures the muscle motility in your esophagus, or how food moves through the muscular tube. 

What are some treatments for dysphagia?

Treatment for dysphagia depends on the underlying cause of your difficulty swallowing. The G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C., team customizes your treatment plan to best meet your needs, which might include:

  • Medication to manage GERD
  • Medication to improve gastrointestinal motility
  • Speech therapy 
  • Modifying the consistency of your diet

In some cases, the team may recommend a feeding tube to ensure you get an adequate supply of nutrients if you’re unable to eat enough by mouth.

To schedule a dysphagia evaluation, call G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C.