Difficulty Swallowing

Difficulty in swallowing is termed as dysphagia. Dysphagia is manifested due to some problem with the esophagus that is meant to move food from mouth to stomach. Difficulty on regular intervals should be addressed immediately.

Either the esophagus becomes narrow and does not allow the bolus of food to move further or it goes into spasm, totally occluding the food passage.


Major causes for inducing dysphagia are:

  • Brain or spinal cord injury

  • Nervous disorders like Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism.

  • Immune problems such as dermatomyositis

  • Spasm of esophageal muscles

  • Scleroderma

  • Esophagitis

  • Tumors

  • GERD(gastroesophageal reflux disorder)


Dysphagia symptoms are subjective and diseased person feels the sensation of food bolus being stuck into neck without moving further. The bolus seems to be staying at the neck or chest and is usually vomited as it cannot move further into the stomach. Patient may undergo vomiting everytime he eats something.


Dysphagia can be evaluated by following procedures:

  • Taking a complete history

  • Performing a general physical examination

  • Using imaging aid like x-rays


The treatment of dysphagia depends on curing the underlying cause. In case of stricture or severe spasm of esophagus, a surgical intervention is required. The nervous disorders that are the main cause of this problem should be given proper medical attention. Antibiotics and muscle relaxants are also effective in easing the dysphagia. However, the most common cases are said to be occurring due to narrowing of esophagus and surgery is required to solve this problem.