Dysphagia in Illinois
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What exactly is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is described as a person's difficulty or even inability to swallow food and liquid. There can be several reasons why a patient could experience dysphagia. It may be because of spasms in the muscle in the throat or esophagus because they did not chew their food sufficiently or other internal situations. Dysphagia can refer, also, to the sensation of food being stalled in the neck or chest. Should you have such symptoms and need care for dysphagia in Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Bloomington, IL, help is available. Contact our experienced GI physicians at GI Alliance of Illinois as soon as possible to learn more about the options we can provide to help you get back to a better life.
What are the causes of dysphagia?
There are two different types of dysphagia and the causes are unique for each type.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia describes trouble when starting to swallow. Neuromuscular factors are more typical with this variety of dysphagia. This is a result of the fact that the muscles found in the mouth, the back side of the throat, and the top portion of the esophagus directly communicate with the brain. Nerves in these areas can be damaged, causing problems with swallowing.
In some cases, narrowed areas in the esophagus (strictures) or tumors growing in the back of the throat can be the cause of your difficulty swallowing.
Esophageal dysphagia has numerous causes, a few of the most typical being:
- Scarring in the esophagus from reflux (GERD)
- Foreign body blockage in the esophagus
- Inflammation in the esophagus due to acid reflux
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Achalasia (when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can’t relax while swallowing because of abnormal nerve control)
- Esophageal spasms
- Esophageal muscle weakness
To learn more about the causes in Illinois, schedule a consultation with our team of GI providers at GI Alliance of Illinois.
What are some symptoms of dysphagia?
The most common signs and symptoms of dysphagia include (but are not limited to):
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Pain while swallowing
- Loss of voice
- Food or liquid regurgitates via the nose
- Coughing or gagging when swallowing
- Lack of ability to swallow
- Acid reflux
- Chest pain
- Excessive salivation
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Unexplained weight loss
- The sensation of food being stuck in your chest or throat
If you have any of the symptoms of dysphagia or trouble swallowing in Illinois, reach out to our gastroenterology provider to request an appointment at GI Alliance of Illinois.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At GI Alliance of Illinois, we perform a range of treatments in Illinois to best meet individual needs. The most common dysphagia treatments involve:
- Practicing exercises to re-stimulate the nerves that trigger the reflex of swallowing
- Learning different swallowing techniques
- Surgical intervention
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Medications to reduce acid reflux, corticosteroids, or muscle relaxants
- Special liquid diet or feeding tube (for severe cases)
We can help your swallowing difficulties subside
If you or a family member are managing any symptoms of dysphagia in Illinois, help is available. Schedule a consultation with our gastrointestinal provider at GI Alliance of Illinois immediately if you are experiencing any combination of the above symptoms regularly. It is essential to see your doctor right away if loss of weight or vomiting accompanies your difficulty swallowing.
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