What are the different types of swallowing issues?

Reflux and swallowing issues can be neurologic, autoimmune or medication-related, and sometimes occur despite doctors never knowing the exact cause. Specific diseases or symptoms may include:

How are swallowing issues diagnosed?

The first step in evaluating anyone with trouble swallowing is to do a good endoscopic evaluation (EGD, esophagogastroduodenoscopy). However, many additional tools can either help or definitively make a diagnosis. The following procedures may be used to diagnose swallowing issues:

  • Manometry (measures the strength and muscle coordination of your esophagus when you swallow)
  • Functional Lumen Imaging Probe, or FLIP (measures the area across the inside of a gastrointestinal organ, such as the esophagus, and the pressure inside that organ)
  • Functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, including esophagram or modified barium swallow

What are the treatment options for swallowing issues?

Once your health care provider finds a cause of your swallowing issue, treatment options available they may choose to include are:

  • Procedures to stretch the esophagus
  • Learning new swallowing methods with speech and language therapy
  • Altering how you eat

Surgical procedures include:

  • Heller myotomy (surgery for achalasia): this is a surgical procedure that is performed laparoscopically and entails the division of the muscles which constitute the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the esophagus and the stomach).
  • Per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) (surgery for achalasia): this is an endoscopic procedure that entails the division of the muscles which constitute the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the esophagus and the stomach).
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) (removes diseased tissue)

Ear, nose and throat procedures include:

  • Targeted speech therapy
  • Botox and dilation of the vocal cords
  • Cricopharyngeal myotomy
  • Vocal fold injection
  • Medialization thyroplasty
  • Scar release
  • Vocal fold procedures to remove obstructing tissue

Swallowing Problems Locations

Swallowing Problems Providers

Calendar icon that indicates scheduling an appointment
Schedule an
Appointment