Swallowing Disorders

Swallowing DisordersSwallowing difficulty, or dysphagia, presents itself in a variety of ways and occurs for a number of reasons. Swallowing disorders are usually related to neurologic disorders or dysfunctions. They may occur after a stroke, surgery or serious illness.

Since swallowing is both a voluntary as well as involuntary act, the treatment of swallowing disorders includes an individualized therapy plan of oral motor exercises and strategies to protect the airway while eating.

Also, specific diet modifications are made to enable patients to eat by mouth safely. And, a dietitian is available for meal planning.

If you're experiencing swallowing problems, you may have dysphagia. A modified barium swallow study can help identify the problem and help medical professionals develop a treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can swallowing problems be corrected so the patient can eat a normal diet by mouth again?
Very often patients with post-surgical dysphagia or swallowing problems after stroke do recover their swallowing ability and return to a normal diet.

What is aspiration? Is it serious?
Aspiration occurs when food or liquid enters the voice box and lungs. It is commonly referred to as food "going down the wrong tube." This can be serious if too much food or liquid enters the lungs and causes pneumonia.

Do children have swallowing disorders?
Yes. Young infants and children can regurgitate their food because of a variety of conditions including gastroesophageal reflux and esophagi

Is "tongue-thrust" a swallowing problem?
Tongue-thrust is an infantile swallowing pattern utilized for suckling during breastfeeding or for bottle-feeding and it is usually resolved by two years of age. Persistent tongue- thrust or reversed swallowing behaviors can be retrained through treatment.


Dysphagia Resource Center