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Counties Manukau Health ENT - Otorhinolaryngology (ORL)

Public Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery

Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

If you find it difficult to pass food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach, you may have a swallowing disorder or dysphagia. Symptoms may include: a feeling that food is sticking in your throat, discomfort in your throat or chest, a sensation of a ‘lump’ in your throat, coughing or choking.
A disorder may occur in any part of the swallowing process such as the mouth, throat, oesophagus (food pipe that takes food to your stomach) or stomach.
Causes of dysphagia include: the common cold, gastro-oesophageal reflux, stroke or a tumour.
Diagnosis may be by Barium swallow x-rays or by viewing the pharynx, oesophagus and stomach using a small, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end (endoscope) that is inserted down the back of your throat.
Treatments for dysphagia depend on the causes, but may include:
  • medication – antacids, muscle relaxants or medicine to slow down stomach acid production
  • changes in diet and/or lifestyle
  • surgery e.g. stretching or releasing a tightened muscle
  • stratgeies and swallowing advice from a Speech Language Therapist

This page was last updated at 2:26PM on May 17, 2022.