Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Difficulty Swallowing Specialist

Cedar Crest Ear Nose and Throat Associates

Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists & A Private Medical Practice located in Allentown, PA

The feeling of having food stuck in your throat is alarming, especially if you're struggling to breathe as well. If you're experiencing difficulty swallowing, Theodore Gaylor, MD, and Mikhail Domnine, PA-C, at Cedar Crest ENT Associates in Allentown, Pennsylvania, can help. They can diagnose the cause of your swallowing disorder and find the treatment that's right for you. For expert help with swallowing difficulties, call Cedar Crest ENT Associates or book an appointment online today.

Difficulty Swallowing Q & A

What is a swallowing difficulty?

Swallowing is something you do repeatedly every day, usually without being aware of it. As well as swallowing when you eat or drink, you swallow saliva and drainage from your nasal passages throughout the day and night.

Having difficulty swallowing, which is known as dysphagia, means that either what you're swallowing gets stuck on the way down, or that the swallowing reflex stops working, so you can't swallow at all.

Experiencing difficulties swallowing is a scary experience, as it can make you feel like you're choking and unable to breathe. It can also be uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

Why would I have difficulty swallowing?

There are numerous reasons why you might have difficulty swallowing, including:

  • Heartburn (acid reflux)
  • Throat infections like tonsillitis
  • Age-related muscle weakness
  • Weakness or scarring of the esophagus
  • Weakness or paralysis of the vocal folds
  • Medication side effects
  • Throat, lung, and esophageal cancers
  • Late-stage dementia

Diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), myasthenia gravis, and stroke, can also cause swallowing difficulties.

How is difficulty swallowing diagnosed?

The team at Cedar Crest ENT Associates begins by talking with you about your symptoms and looking over your medical history. Next, they look into your mouth and throat.

To see down your esophagus more clearly, they might use a flexible laryngoscope. This slim tube has a light and a camera that your provider passes down your throat, and then they can view the camera's images on a monitor.

Other tests you might need when you have difficulty swallowing include:

  • Barium swallow (esophagram)
  • Trans-nasal esophagoscopy (TNE)
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Pressure testing (manometry)

The Cedar Crest ENT Associates team may need to work with specialists in gastroenterology, as difficulty swallowing can relate to a gastrointestinal disorder as well as throat problems.

What treatment would I need if I have difficulty swallowing?

The treatment your provider at Cedar Crest ENT Associates recommends depends on why you're experiencing difficulty swallowing. You may need to take medication, have physical therapy, or in some cases, undergo surgery to resolve your swallowing difficulties.

It's important to seek treatment when you have difficulty swallowing, as it can lead to complications like dehydration, malnutrition, and pneumonia.

For help with your swallowing difficulty, call Cedar Crest ENT Associates to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.