Why Do I Have Trouble Swallowing? Dysphagia Explained

Occasional difficulty swallowing, such as when you eat too fast or don’t chew your food well enough generally isn’t a cause for concern. However, if you have persistent swallowing difficulties, you may have a condition called dysphagia. Dysphagia can occur at any age but it’s more common in older adults. The causes of it can vary and treatment depends on its severity.

Simply put, dysphagia refers to difficulty swallowing. In other words, people with dysphagia take more time and effort to move food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Dysphagia can be painful. In some cases, swallowing is impossible.

What Causes Dysphagia?

Dysphagia has many possible causes, but it’s usually caused by another health condition. Such conditions are ones that affect the nervous system, such as a stroke, head injury or dementia; cancer of the mouth or esophagus (food pipe); or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) where the stomach acid moves up into the food pipe. Any of these conditions can weaken and affect the coordination of the muscles used for swallowing and limit the sensation in the mouth and throat. 

Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia:
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Inability to swallow
  • Sensation of food getting food stuck in throat and/or chest
  • Persistent drooling
  • Regurgitation (food coming back up)
  • Frequent heartburn or acid reflux
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent chest infections 
  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing 
  • Being unable to chew food properly  
Types of Dysphagia

Since there are different causes of dysphagia, the problem can occur in different areas of the body. There are three basic types of dysphagia: 

    • Oral cavity dysphagia: The problem occurs in the mouth and it’s due to tongue weakness from a stroke, overall difficulty in swallowing food, or neuromuscular problems.
  • Oropharyngeal dysphagia: The problem occurs in the throat and can be a result of a neurological or muscular problem.
  • Esophageal dysphagia: The problem occurs in the esophagus and can be caused by a blockage or compression of the esophagus or from a muscular disorder.
Dysphagia Treatments

Treatment for dysphagia depends on the cause and severity of the problem, therefore treatments can vary. Persistent dysphagia can be a serious medical condition requiring antibiotics, lifestyle habit change, medical therapy like rehabilitation, eating smaller and more frequent meals and changing the consistency of foods and liquids to make them safer and easier to swallow.

We understand that maintaining the balanced diet necessary for good health is challenging for someone who has difficulty swallowing. When people are challenged in getting the necessary nutrition from food, they typically turn to supplements to ensure they’re getting the vitamins and nutrients they need. However, when the vast majority of supplements are in pill or capsule form, how is a person with dysphagia supposed to take them? 

Luckily, there is an alternative to pills and capsules for people with dysphagia. Can-i Wellness oral spray supplements are sprayed into the mouth and absorbed by the inner lining of the inside cheek or tongue. The liquid is then absorbed through the capillaries where it is distributed to the rest of the bloodstream. Very little of the liquid from the spray needs to be swallowed. Check out what makes Can-i Wellness unique and why sprays are the faster, better way to supplement! 

do you have difficult swallowing?

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