Skip navigation
   Other Topics: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ All Topics

Swallowing Disorders

Also called: Dysphagia 
 
 

If you have a swallowing disorder, you may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Some people cannot swallow at all. Others may have trouble swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva. This makes it hard to eat. Often, it can be difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish your body.

Anyone can have a swallowing disorder, but it is more likely in the elderly. It often happens because of other conditions, including

  • Nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and cerebral palsy
  • Problems with your esophagus, including GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Stroke
  • Head or spinal cord injury
  • Cancer of the head, neck, or esophagus

Medicines can help some people, while others may need surgery. Swallowing treatment with a speech-language pathologist can help. You may find it helpful to change your diet or hold your head or neck in a certain way when you eat. In very serious cases, people may need feeding tubes.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

 
  • Start Here

    • DysphagiaFrom the National Institutes of Health(National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
    • Swallowing DisordersFrom the National Institutes of Health(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
    • Also available in Spanish

 

 
 
Basics Learn More Multimedia & Cool Tools

 

 
Research Reference Shelf For You

 

 

 

Illustration of the upper gastrointestinal system

National Institutes of Health

Languages

 

 

 

Swallowing Disorders - Multiple Languages