About Dysphagia

Multidisciplinary Swallowing Disorders Center


What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia refers to difficulty in swallowing.

Dysphagia's Impact

  • Dysphagia can lead to weight loss.
  • Dysphagia can lead to social isolation and poor quality of life.
  • Dysphagia can lead to pneumonia from food/liquids entering the lungs. 

How food enters the lungs.

Some Symptoms of Dysphagia:

  • Foods, liquids, an/or pills getting stuck in the throat or chest
  • Coughing or choking when eating and drinking
  • Wet sounding voice after eating and drinking
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Prolonged meal times
  • Drooling or food spilling out of the front of the mouth
  • Food or liquid going up the nose when swallowing
  • A sense of a lump in the throat
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Increased effort needed to swallow
  • Inability to swallow certain foods
  • Regurgitation of foods

What Causes Dysphagia?

The swallowing process includes the mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), and swallow tube (esophagus). Dysphagia can have many different causes that impact the passage of food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach, including:

  • Stroke
  • Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Dementia
  • Head and neck or esophageal cancer
  • Prolonged hospitalization
  • Narrowing of the swallowing passage
  • Spasm of the esophageal muscles
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Scleroderma
  • Fungal infection of the swallowing passage