Dysphagia in Denver, CO
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a term used to describe someone’s inability or struggle to ingest food or liquid. There are many reasons why an individual can have dysphagia. It could be due to spasms in the muscle because they failed to chew their food thoroughly or additional internal issues. Dysphagia can also refer to the sensation of food being stuck in the chest or neck area. If you experience symptoms of dysphagia in Denver, CO, specialized help is available. Reach out to our highly trained gastrointestinal doctors at Colorado Gastroenterology today to learn more about how we can help you get back to a better life.
What causes dysphagia?
Dysphagia may occur in two different variations, and the causes are unique for both types
The type referred to as oropharyngeal dysphagia describes difficulty starting a swallow. Causes involving neuromuscular concerns are more frequent with this form of dysphagia. This is because the muscles of the mouth, in the back side of your throat and on the top portion of the esophagus, directly connect with the brain and these nerves are not immune to damage, which can result in complications.
In some instances, narrowed areas in the esophagus (strictures) or tumors developing in the posterior side of the throat can lead to trouble with swallowing.
The condition known as esophageal dysphagia has a variety of causes. Some of the most frequent causes are as follows:
- Achalasia (the condition wherein the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can’t relax while swallowing due to a problem with nerve control)
- Inflammation in the esophagus due to acid reflux
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Esophageal scarring from acid reflux (GERD)
- Esophageal spasms
- Foreign body blockage in the esophagus
- Lack of esophageal muscle strength
What are the symptoms of dysphagia?
The most common signs and symptoms of dysphagia include (but are not limited to):
- Lack of ability to swallow
- Pain in the chest
- Gagging or coughing while swallowing
- Acid reflux
- Liquid or food regurgitation via your nose
- The sensation of food being stuck in your throat or chest
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Unexplained weight loss
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Discomfort while swallowing
- Loss of voice
In the event you notice any of the dysphagia symptoms listed above or have trouble swallowing, please reach out to our GI practice in Denver, CO to schedule a consultation with a specialist.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At Colorado Gastroenterology, we provide a number of treatment options to best address individual needs. Common treatments for dysphagia include:
- Learning exercises to re-stimulate the nerves that initiate the swallowing reflex
- Practicing different techniques for swallowing
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Medications to reduce acid reflux, corticosteroids, or muscle relaxants
- A liquid diet or feeding tube (for extreme cases)
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Help your swallowing difficulties subside
If you or a family member are living with any symptoms of dysphagia in Denver, CO, help is available. Set up an appointment with a gastrointestinal specialist at Colorado Gastroenterology immediately if you are experiencing any combination of the above symptoms consistently. It is essential to meet with your doctor if weight loss or vomiting is present along with any swallowing difficulties.
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