Dysphagia in Hattiesburg, MS
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a term used to describe the inability or struggle to eat or drink food and/or liquid. There may be a variety of explanations as to why a patient may have dysphagia. It may be a result of muscle spasms in the esophagus, because they didn’t chew their food sufficiently, or other internal complications. Dysphagia can also refer to the feeling of food being lodged in the chest or neck. Should you experience such symptoms and need treatment for dysphagia in Hattiesburg, MS, help is available. Contact our skilled gastrointestinal doctors at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC today to learn more regarding treatments available to assist you in getting back to a better life.
What might cause dysphagia?
There are two different types of dysphagia, and the causes are unique for each type.
The condition known as oropharyngeal dysphagia describes difficulty starting the act of swallowing. The causes behind this type of dysphagia usually involve neuromuscular disorders. This is a result of the fact that the muscles in the mouth, the rear of your throat, and the upper esophagus directly connect with the brain. Nerves in these areas can be damaged, causing issues with swallowing.
In some cases, narrowed areas in the esophagus (strictures) or tumors developing in the back side of the throat can lead to difficulty swallowing.
The condition known as esophageal dysphagia has numerous causes, a few of the more typical ones being:
- Esophageal scarring from acid reflux (GERD)
- Inflammation in the esophagus from reflux
- Esophageal muscle weakness
- Spasms in the esophagus
- Achalasia (when the lower esophageal sphincter is unable to relax while swallowing because of abnormal nerve control)
- Foreign body blockage in the esophagus
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
What are some symptoms of dysphagia?
The typical symptoms and signs of dysphagia include (but are not limited to):
- Inability to swallow
- Liquid or food regurgitating via the nose
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Discomfort while swallowing
- The feeling that food is stuck in your chest or throat
- Unexplained weight loss
- Gagging or coughing when swallowing
- Chest pain
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Acid reflux
If you experience any of the symptoms of dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, contact our gastroenterology practice in Hattiesburg, MS to connect with a specialist.
How is dysphagia treated?
At Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC, we offer a number of treatment options to help meet individual needs. Common treatments for dysphagia involve:
- Implementing exercises to re-stimulate nerves that trigger the swallowing reflex
- Practicing different techniques for swallowing
- Surgical intervention
- Esophageal dilation
- Medications for reduction of acid reflux, muscle relaxers, or corticosteroids
- Special liquid diet or feeding tube (for severe cases)
We can help alleviate your swallowing difficulties
If you or a family member are experiencing any symptoms of dysphagia in Hattiesburg, MS, help is available. Schedule a meeting with a board-certified gastrointestinal physician at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC as soon as possible if you experience any combination of the listed symptoms on a regular basis. It is important to meet with your doctor as soon as possible if weight loss or vomiting accompanies any trouble swallowing.
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