Dysphagia is the medical term for the symptom of difficulty in swallowing. Sufferers are sometimes unaware of their dysphagia. The word is derived from the Greek dys meaning bad or disordered and the word phag meaning "eat". It may be a sensation that suggests difficulty in the passage of solids or liquids from the mouth to the stomach, a lack of pharyngeal sensation, or various other inadequacies of the swallowing mechanism. Dysphagia is distinguished from other symptoms including odynophagia, which is defined as painful swallowing, and globus, which is the sensation of a lump in the throat. A psychogenic dysphagia is known as phagophobia.
Some signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia include difficulty controlling food in the mouth, inability to control food or saliva in the mouth, difficulty initiating a swallow, coughing, choking, frequent pneumonia, unexplained weight loss, gurgly or wet voice after swallowing, nasal regurgitation, and dysphagia (patient complaint of swallowing difficulty). When asked where the food is getting stuck, patients will often point to the cervical (neck) region as the site of the obstruction. The actual site of obstruction is always at or below the level at which the level of obstruction is perceived.
Treatment for dysphagia depends on the type or cause of your swallowing disorder. Oropharyngeal dysphagia can be treated by speech or swallowing therapy. Surgery is done for esophageal tumor, achalasia or pharyngeal diverticula and to clear your esophageal path. Difficulty in swallowing associated with GERD can be treated with prescription oral medications to reduce stomach acid. You may need to take these medications for an extended period. Corticosteroids are the best treating agents for eosinophilicesophagitis.