Dysphagia in Louisiana
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a term used to describe someone’s difficulty or inability to ingest food and liquid. There might be a variety of answers as to why a patient can experience dysphagia. It may be a result of spasms in the muscles that cause you to not masticate (chew) food thoroughly. Dysphagia can also refer to the feeling of food being lodged in one's neck or chest area. If you notice such symptoms and need treatment for dysphagia in Louisiana, help is available. Contact our skilled GI doctors at GastroGroup & Endocenter as soon as possible to find out more regarding the options we can offer to help.
What are the causes of dysphagia?
There are two types of dysphagia and the causes are unique for both types.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia involves difficulty when starting to swallow. Causes involving neuromuscular concerns are more common in this variety of dysphagia. This is because the muscles found in the mouth, the back side of your throat, and the top portion of the esophagus directly connect with the brain. Nerves in these areas can be damaged, causing problems with swallowing.
In some instances, strictures (narrowed areas in the esophagus) or tumors developing in the back portion of the throat, can be the cause of difficulty swallowing.
The condition known as esophageal dysphagia has innumerable causes, a portion of the most common being:
- Blockage by a foreign body in the esophagus
- Spasms in the esophagus
- Lack of esophageal muscle strength
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Esophageal scarring from acid reflux (GERD)
- Achalasia (the condition wherein the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is unable to relax while swallowing because of a problem with nerve control)
- Swelling in the esophagus from reflux
What are some symptoms of dysphagia?
The typical symptoms and signs of dysphagia include (but are not limited to):
- Chest pain
- Gagging or coughing while swallowing
- Excessive salivation
- The sensation of food being stuck in one's chest or throat
- Unintentional weight loss
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Inability to swallow
- Liquid or food regurgitates through the nose
- Discomfort when swallowing
- Acid reflux
In the event that you notice any of the above symptoms of dysphagia, reach out to our GI team in Louisiana to request a consultation with a specialist.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At GastroGroup & Endocenter, we offer a range of treatment options to help meet individual needs. The most common treatments for dysphagia involve:
- Implementing exercises to re-stimulate nerves that initiate the reflex of swallowing
- Learning different swallowing techniques
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Medications to reduce acid reflux, muscle relaxers, or corticosteroids
- Special liquid diet or feeding tube (for severe cases)
We can help your swallowing difficulties subside
If you or a family member are dealing with the symptoms of dysphagia in Louisiana, help is available. Schedule a consultation with a gastrointestinal physician at GastroGroup & Endocenter at your earliest opportunity if you are experiencing any combination of the listed symptoms consistently. It is essential to meet with your doctor right away if weight loss or vomiting is present along with trouble swallowing.
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