Dysphagia in Arizona
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is described as an individual's difficulty or inability to ingest food and/or liquid. There are several possibilities as to why an individual might have dysphagia. It could be a result of muscle spasms because they didn’t chew their food thoroughly or other internal issues. Dysphagia can also refer to the feeling of food being lodged in one's chest or neck. If you have such symptoms and need care for dysphagia in Phoenix, AZ, help is available. Contact our highly trained GI providers at Arizona Digestive Health today for more information about the treatment options we can offer to assist you in getting back to a better quality of life.
What are the causes of dysphagia?
There are two variations of dysphagia and the causes are unique for each type.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia describes difficulty beginning a swallow. Neuromuscular factors are more frequent in this type of dysphagia. This is because the muscles found in the mouth, the back of the throat, and the upper esophagus directly connect with the brain. Nerves in these areas are not immune to damage, which can result in problems with swallowing.
In some cases, strictures (narrowed areas in the esophagus) or tumors forming in the back side of the throat can cause trouble with swallowing.
Esophageal dysphagia has innumerable causes, some of the most common being:
- Esophageal muscle weakness
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Inflammation in the esophagus from acid reflux
- Spasms in the esophagus
- Scarring in the esophagus from acid reflux (GERD)
- Foreign body blockage in the esophagus
- Achalasia (when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is unable to relax while swallowing because of abnormal nerve control)
To learn more about these two variations of dysphagia or to have one of our Phoenix, AZ GI specialists help identify which type of dysphagia you are having difficulty with, contact an Arizona Digestive Health location near you to request a consultation.
What are some symptoms of dysphagia?
The most common signs and symptoms of dysphagia include (but are not limited to):
- Chest pain
- The sensation of food being stuck in your throat or chest
- Unintentional weight loss
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Excessive salivation
- Food or liquid regurgitates via the nose
- Discomfort when swallowing
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Coughing or gagging when swallowing
- Acid reflux
- Lack of ability to swallow
Should you experience any of the dysphagia symptoms listed above or difficulty swallowing, call our gastroenterology group in Phoenix, AZ to request a consultation with a specialist.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At Arizona Digestive Health, we offer several treatment options to address the individual needs of patients suffering from dysphagia in Phoenix, AZ. Common dysphagia treatments are:
- Implementing exercises to re-stimulate nerves that trigger the swallowing reflex
- Learning different swallowing techniques
- Surgical intervention
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Medications for reduction of acid reflux, corticosteroids, or muscle relaxants
- Special liquid diet or feeding tube (for extreme cases)
We can help your swallowing difficulties subside
If you or a member of your family are dealing with the symptoms of dysphagia in Phoenix, AZ, help is available. Request a consultation with a gastrointestinal specialist at Arizona Digestive Health at your earliest opportunity if you are experiencing any combination of the above symptoms regularly. It is vital to meet with your provider right away if loss of weight or vomiting is present along with any difficulty swallowing.
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