Treatment for dysphagia
It's something that most of us take completely for granted. We swallow food and liquids many times each day without giving it a second thought. But there are conditions that can dramatically affect our ability to swallow. Swallowing is actually a complex act. It requires normal brain function, nerves and muscles, two valves and an open, unblocked swallowing tube called the esophagus.
The act of swallowing normally occurs in three phases. The first phase, when food or liquid enters the mouth, is the only one we can control. The second phase is the brain deciding to swallow and beginning a complex series of reflexes. The food enters the throat and a valve at the bottom opens to let food pass into the esophagus while other muscles close to prevent food from entering the airway. The third phase begins when food enters the esophagus, a nine-inch muscular tube. Muscular contractions then push food down toward the stomach. Swallowing problems occur when the anatomy malfunctions and causes:
• Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty)
• Odnyophagia (swallowing pain)
• Achalasia (an uncommon condition where lower esophageal sphincter doesn't allow food to enter the stomach and may cause regurgitation)
• Scleroderma (the lower esophageal muscles stop moving, leading to severe GERD)
At Utah Gastroenterology, diagnosis and treatment for swallowing disorders may include an upper endoscopy procedure.