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Dysphagia

Swallowing problems

Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties, which can affect children and adults for a number of reasons

About Dysphagia

Some patients start with difficulties swallowing certain foods. You may notice solid foods like bread or meat get stuck in the throat or lower down on the way to your stomach. This is often compensated by drinking more water or replacing solid diets with semi-solid or liquid diets. The difficulty with swallowing might worsen over time.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of Dysphagia icon plus

    Symptoms vary from person to person but may include: - Difficulty swallowing certain foods or liquids, or just swallowing - Coughing or choking when eating or drinking - Regurgitating food after swallowing, back into the mouth or nose - Feeling like food is stuck in your throat or lower down - Continuously drooling saliva - Over time weight loss and repeated chest infections
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Dysphagia can be due to inflammatory, allergic or even malignant disorders. Your consultant will start investigations by taking an x-ray of your oesophagus (after you have swallowed a contrast) or by performing a camera examination (endoscopy). If these results are normal, you are considered to have a non-obstructive dysphagia. This means the difficulty in swallowing is probably related to a disorder of function of the swallow mechanism or your oesophagus. If the results reveal another suspected underlying cause you may be required to have further tests to confirm a diagnosis.
  • Potential Dysphagia treatment options icon plus

    Treatment for this condition depends on your symptoms, but can include:

    • Changing the consistency of food and drinks
    • Speech and language therapy to learn new swallowing techniques
    • Medication to improve the strength of the contractions
    • Dilatation of the valve between the oesophagus and stomach (achalasia)
    • An endoscopy/gastroscopy. Your consultant will insert a flexible tube with a camera at the end of it down your mouth. This will allows them to look at the lining of your oesophagus and stomach
Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 3131 7216
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • Male-receptionist-greets-male-visitor

    London Digestive Centre

    41 Welbeck Street

    London

    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 3813 9497
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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