If you have a swallowing disorder, you may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Some people cannot swallow at all. Others may have trouble swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva. This makes it hard to eat. Often, it can be difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish your body.
Anyone can have a swallowing disorder, but it is more likely in the elderly. It often happens because of other conditions, including
- Nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and cerebral palsy
- Problems with your esophagus, including GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Head or spinal cord injury
- Cancer of the head, neck, or esophagus
Medicines can help some people, while others may need surgery. Swallowing treatment with a speech-language pathologist can help. You may find it helpful to change your diet or hold your head or neck in a certain way when you eat. In very serious cases, people may need feeding tubes.
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders