Dysphagia means difficulty in swallowing. There is a problem of swallowing solid or liquid foods. Swallowing difficulty sometimes occurs during the eating solid foods, sometimes drinking liquid foods, sometimes in both.
Swallowing is a process that occurs through the collaborative work of the organs that include the mouth, tongue, palate, pharynx, and food tube. Any person who has illnesses affecting one or more of these organs may experience swallowing difficulty.
Reasons For Swallowing Difficulty
An organ participating in swallowing activity; disruption of function by infection, tumoral, metabolic, neurological, congenital and other causes constitutes a difficulty of swallowing. The mouth, teeth, tongue, tonsils, and pharynx inflammation have difficulty in swallowing and are painful. Severe pain is felt when swallowing in cases of infection such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and inflammation of tooth and tongue.
Aphta (small wounds) in the mouth and throat region sometimes make swallowing difficulties by making the reflective pain in the throat sometimes in the ears. In the brain and nervous system diseases, problems arise when the muscles of the pharynx and alimentary canal are working and the liquids are difficult to swallow. Congenital anomalies and acquired muscle diseases cause difficulty in swallowing. In these illnesses, the swallowing difficulty is accompanied by a coughing, which eventually the saliva and food escape to the airway. As the disease progresses, it becomes difficult to swallow solid foods.
Difficulty in swallowing solid foods is often seen in the good and malignant (cancer) tumors of swallowing organs that occupy the alimentary canal. The difficulty of swallowing liquids begins as the tumor grows. Cancer of tongue base, alimentary canal and laryngeal make swallowing difficult at varying degrees depending on the size of the resulting gland.
It is difficult to swallow in children with congenital anomalies of the pharynx and lip region like cleft lips and palates.