What are the Treatment Options for Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a condition that causes trouble with swallowing or may make swallowing food impossible in severe cases. It can be uncomfortable and for some people it may cause pain. Dysphagia can occur at any age due to illness or medical treatments; however, it is more common in the elderly. There are several potential causes of this condition, and the treatment that you will be offered if you have symptoms will vary depending on the underlying cause. The type of dysphagia will also determine the best treatment. There are two types: esophageal and oropharyngeal dysphagia. 

[image: pexels]

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia

With this type of dysphagia, patients are likely to be referred to a swallowing therapist or a speech and language pathologist. Physical therapy is usually the best treatment for this type of dysphagia. Patients may be recommended the following:

Strengthening Exercises

Patients may be given exercises to perform regularly with the main aim of strengthening the esophagus muscles, coordination of the swallowing muscles or restimulation of the nerves that trigger the swallowing reflex. 

Swallowing Techniques

This involves learning different ways to place food in the mouth, or different positions for the head and body to make swallowing easier. Learning new swallowing techniques can be helpful for people who are struggling with dysphagia that has been caused by a neurological condition such as stroke, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease. 


In severe cases, surgery may be required to treat swallowing issues caused by throat narrowing or blockages. Surgery is more likely to be offered when dysphagia is caused by conditions such as achalasia, vocal cord paralysis, throat cancer, GERD and body outgrowths. 

Esophageal Dysphagia

Lifestyle changes are often the most recommended treatment for this type of dysphagia, particularly diet changes. Patients may work with a speech and language pathologist or a nutritionist to help them overcome the condition. 

Dietary Changes

Most of the time, a mechanical soft diet is recommended for people with esophageal dysphagia. The dysphagia diet has several stages allowing the patient to progress if they begin to find swallowing easier. Products like SimplyThick Easy Mix may be recommended to add to liquids to make them thicker and easier to swallow. 


In some cases, medication to treat the underlying condition that dysphagia is a symptom of will be recommended. Prescription medications are often provided to treat conditions such as GERD that can lead to trouble with swallowing. Corticosteroids and muscle relaxants are common examples of prescription medications that may be given. 

Esophageal Dilation

This is a procedure that involves stretching and expanding the esophagus with an endoscope that has a special balloon attached. This may be recommended as a treatment if the dysphagia is caused by achalasia, or a tight esophageal sphincter. A flexible tube may also be used to stretch the esophagus. 

Dysphagia is a condition that can be developed as a result of several things, including neurological conditions, medical treatments, and other underlying conditions. The management and treatment options available will depend on several factors including the type of dysphagia and the underlying cause. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Leave a Comment to show some Love ~ Thanks