Swallowing Issues and Treatment

Causes of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) include reflux laryngitis (GERD), infection, neck trauma, vocal cord issues, autoimmune disease, and rarely benign tumors and cancer. It is important if dysphagia persists for more than one week to have an evaluation by an otolaryngologist. It dysphagia is severe and prevents eating or drinking, one should seek immediate medical attention (go to the Emergency Room or call 911).

An evaluation for swallowing problems starts with a thorough history and physical exam. The exam will likely include a flexible laryngeal endoscopy. The can be done in about 5 minutes in the office while awake. No anesthesia is required. It is very well-tolerated, and can give very useful information as it allows for direct inspection in the deeper throat, and voice box and esophagus.