Swallowing disorders

Swallowing disorders or dysphagia can occur in both pediatric and adult populations. It is most common in elderly adults with neurologic disorders. Dysphagia is the term used to describe difficulty in the swallowing process of passing food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Dysphagia may be caused by factors such as:
  • Poor dentition
  • Acid reflux
  • Stroke
  • Progressive neurologic disorder
  • The presence of a tracheotomy tube
  • A paralyzed vocal fold
  • A tumor in the mouth, throat, or esophagus
  • After cancer or surgery to the head, neck, or esophagus.
Many swallowing disorders may be helped by swallowing therapy. A speech-language pathologist can provide patients with diet modifications, and special exercises to help coordinate the swallowing muscles.