A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Difficulty Swallowing
I had a question the other day about difficulty swallowing.
Difficulty swallowing is also called dysphagia.
It’s usually a sign of a problem with your throat or esophagus.
Although dysphagia can happen to anyone, it’s most common in older adults, babies, and people who have problems of the brain or nervous system.
There are many different problems that can prevent your throat or esophagus from working properly.
Some of these are minor, and others are more serious.
If you have a hard time swallowing once or twice, you probably don’t have a medical problem.
But if you have trouble swallowing on a regular basis, you may have a more serious problem that needs treatment.
Normally, the muscles in your throat and esophagus squeeze, or contract, to move food and liquids from your mouth to your stomach without problems.
Sometimes, though, food and liquids have trouble getting to your stomach.
There are 2 types of problems that can make it hard for food and liquids to travel down your esophagus:
>The muscles and nerves that help move food through the throat and esophagus aren’t working right. This can happen if you have:
>>Had a stroke or a brain or spinal cord injury.
>>Certain problems with your nervous system, like post-polio syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson’s disease.
>>An immune system problem that causes swelling and weakness.
>>Esophageal spasm. This means the muscles of your esophagus suddenly squeeze.
>>Scleroderma. In this condition, tissues of your esophagus become hard and narrow.
>Something is blocking your throat or esophagus. This may happen if you have:
>>Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid backs up regularly into your esophagus, it can cause ulcers in your esophagus, which can then cause scars to form. These scars can make your esophagus narrower.
>>Esophagitis. This is inflammation of your esophagus. This can be caused by different problems, like GERD, having an infection or getting a pill stuck in your esophagus. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to food or things in the air.
>>Diverticula. These are small sacs in the walls of your esophagus or throat.
>>Esophageal tumors. These growths in your esophagus may or may not be cancerous.
>>Masses outside your esophagus, like lymph nodes, tumors, or bone spurs on your vertebrae that press on your esophagus.
A dry mouth can make dysphagia worse.
This is because you may not have enough saliva to help move food out of your mouth and through your esophagus.
A dry mouth can be caused by medicines or another health problem.
Dysphagia can come and go, be mild or severe, or get worse over time.
If you have dysphagia, you may:
>Have problems getting food or liquids to go down on the first try.
>Gag, choke, or cough when you swallow.
>Have food or liquids come back up through your throat, mouth, or nose after you swallow.
>Feel like foods or liquids are stuck in some part of your throat or chest.
>Have pain when you swallow.
>Have pain or pressure in your chest or have heartburn.
>Lose weight because you’re not getting enough food or liquid.
To deal with difficulty swallowing it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells, thins mucus, and flushes toxins.
*Balance Omega-3/Omega-6 essential fats.
*Decrease toxic household cleaning, laundry, and personal care products and/or poor air quality.
*Decrease possible triggers, allergies, sensitivities; eliminate dairy products.