Problems with swallowing are often seen by the ENT specialist, especially in the case of the more elderly. Swallowing complaints can differ a lot. For example, problems could come from food that can not be swallowed or that remains stuck in the throat or esophagus. Other issues may relate to a feeling of something in the throat or pain when swallowing. When food or drink accidentally enter the airway instead of the esophagus, it is called choking. This is often, but not always, accompanied by coughing.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SWALLOWING PROBLEMS?
A swallowing problem is caused by a deviation in the throat or esophagus. There may be an obstruction or narrowing or a problem with the muscles in the throat. Other problems can be nerve related or an irritation or tumor of the mucous membrane of the throat. These abnormalities in the throat or esophagus can have various causes, such as stomach acid, smoking and alcohol, inflammation, effects of a stroke or muscle or nerve diseases.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?
People often worry about cancer of the throat. In this case, the ENT doctor can provide clarity and can usually reassure you.
People who can not swallow properly often feel socially isolated and uncomfortable. For example, people can no longer eat out or drink something in public. Not being able or having difficulties swallowing can lead to unwanted weight loss. In such a case it is very important to treat the condition. Regular choking can cause pneumonia.