What is it?

Dysphagia is a medical term referring to difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia can cause pain while swallowing. It is more common in older people. Dysphagia causes include achalasia, diffuse spasm, esophageal stricture due to tumor or scar tissue, foreign body, esophageal ring, GERD, eosinophilic esophagitis, scleroderma or radiation therapy. Other conditions have to do with oropharyngeal dysphagia which appears in neurological disorders, pharyngoesophageal diverticulum (Zenker's diverticulum) and cancer as well.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Dysphagia involving Pharyngeal Phase
- Dysphagia involving Oral Phase
- Dysphagia involving Pharyngoesophageal Phase
- Dysphagia involving Oropharyngeal Phase

Signs & symptoms

Dysphagia symptoms include pain while swallowing, inability to swallow, a sensation of food getting stuck down the throat, hoarseness, drooling, weight loss, coughing or gagging when swallowing.


Dysphagia diagnosis is based upon physical examination and medical history. Further evaluation includes barium X-ray to demonstrate the esophageal structure, dynamic swallowing tests, endoscopy, Fiber-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES), esophageal muscle tests (manometry), and imaging scans such as CT.


Dysphagia treatment depends on the type and cause but may include exercises to help coordicnate swallowing, esophageal dilatation, surgery and antacids.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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