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We offer consultation and diagnosis for dysphagia; a condition where you have difficulty swallowing certain foods or drinks - or can’t swallow at all.
Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty with swallowing. You may not be able to swallow certain foods or liquids or be able to swallow anything at all. A dysphagia test can help identify whether you need treatment*.
*Please note: we do not offer therapy or treatment for dysphagia.
Dysphagia can be caused by several different conditions including stroke, head injury, mouth or throat tumours or gastroesophageal reflux (GORD). The treatment for dysphagia will depend on the exact cause of the condition and where in the body the difficulty occurs. For example, oropharyngeal or ‘high’ dysphagia occurs in the mouth or throat, whereas oesophageal or ‘low’ dysphagia occurs in the oesophagus (the gullet).
Dysphagia can lead to additional problems, such as choking or coughing when food ‘goes down the wrong way’, blocking your airway. If this causes you anxiety around drinking and eating, it can lead to dehydration and malnutrition and affect your day to day wellbeing.
Symptoms of dysphagia vary from person to person. You may have difficulty swallowing solid foods but are able to manage fluids. Other people experience the opposite and struggle to swallow liquids, including their own saliva, but can eat solids. We might carry out a swallowing test to gauge how you react and whether you have any symptoms.
You may have additional symptoms, including:
You might notice symptoms with certain food and drinks that are common triggers for acid reflux, such as:
Dysphagia treatment* depends on whether your swallowing problem is in the mouth or throat (oropharyngeal dysphagia), or in the oesophagus (oesophageal dysphagia). In some cases, treating any underlying cause - such as mouth or oesophageal cancer - with surgery or an operation can help relieve dysphagia.
For oropharyngeal dysphagia, your Consultant may refer you to a speech or swallowing therapist. Your therapy could include:
Treatment for oesophageal dysphagia may include:
*Please note: we do not offer therapy or treatment for dysphagia
If you have trouble swallowing, you should always make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible. However, there are some things you can try at home to ease your symptoms: