Learn All About Swallowing Disorders And Symptoms Of This

Swallowing disorders most often manifest themselves with pain or difficulty swallowing. In this article we will explain more about how to detect them.
Learn all about swallowing disorders and symptoms of this

Swallowing disorders alter the transfer of food from the mouth to the stomach. All in all, this includes a number of disorders. What they have in common, however, is that they affect the swallowing process. Read on to learn all about swallowing disorders!

In addition to having different origins, these disorders can also manifest themselves with a variety of symptoms. Sometimes it is obvious that it is a swallowing problem (for example if one can not swallow), while other times there are simply a number of complications from not being able to eat properly, and the person suffering from it is not aware that it is an issue.

Unfortunately, swallowing disorders are quite common. They particularly affect older people and can even lead to serious health problems, such as malnutrition or dehydration. In this article we will explain everything you need to know about them.

The swallowing process

Ingestion is a complex process involving various muscles in the mouth and pharynx, larynx and esophagus. The goal is to move the food we eat from the mouth to the stomach to digest it. In addition to the muscles, various nerves also participate that help coordinate the movements of these muscles.

Swallowing is divided into three phases: Oral, in the pharynx and in the esophagus. The oral phase involves chewing food. This allows the body to form a small, round mass that passes on to the throat. The second phase begins.

Learn all about swallowing disorders.

In the second phase, in the pharynx, the coordination between the muscles we mentioned earlier is especially important. This is because it prevents food from passing to the larynx, as this can lead to breathing problems and even suffocation. So far, swallowing is a will-driven act.

Then we come to the third phase. The actions of the muscles cause the small, round mass to finally reach the esophagus, after preventing it from passing through the airways or returning to the nose. When it is in the esophageal phase, the food reaches the stomach thanks to peristalsis. This process involves a series of involuntary muscle contractions and relaxations that cause the food to pass through the digestive tract. 


As we mentioned above, swallowing disorders are a number of disorders in which the common denominator is that they affect this process. In other words, they may have different origins and different symptoms.

However, most swallowing disorders cause dysphagia, which is difficulty swallowing. This leads to a feeling that the food does not pass or stop somewhere in the throat. It is estimated that almost 15% of people over the age of 50 feel dysphagia. It is also one of the main symptoms of a tumor in the esophagus or throat. Therefore, a doctor must examine this situation properly. 

Ingestion may also be manifested by symptoms of nasal congestion or vomiting, such as coughing or suffocation. Sometimes the food consumed is immediately thrown out.

Wondering if you have swallowing disorders?

Other symptoms of swallowing disorders

Other symptoms that most often manifest if you have these disorders are pain when swallowing. The medical term for this is odynophagy. It tends to manifest itself due to an injury to the throat or esophagus. It is common in certain infections.

Nevertheless, it is important to know that not all swallowing disorders manifest symptomatically. As we mentioned above, it can sometimes seem as if everything is a complication resulting from changes in this process. For example , breathing problems are common because the lump of food enters the trachea. This is associated with many infections, such as pneumonia.

Other situations where swallowing disorders do not cause typical symptoms are when they affect a patient with Parkinson’s who has specific digestive problems but who cannot express their symptoms clearly. They tend to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration because of this.

All in all, it is important to consult a doctor if you notice any problems that affect the swallowing process. This is because these disorders are diverse and it is essential to establish an appropriate diagnosis.

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