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Dysphagia (Swallowing Difficulties) - St. James, Minnesota
Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, is common in older adults, but it can happen at any age. Swallowing problem causes vary, and treatment depends on the cause. Speech-language pathologists will determine the best treatment plan to help you increase your safety and swallowing efficiency.
Signs and symptoms that can be associated with dysphagia can include:
- Coughing or gagging when swallowing
- Food or stomach acid backing up into your throat
- Frequent heartburn
- Not being able to swallow
- Pain while swallowing (odynophagia)
- Sensation of food getting stuck in your throat, chest or behind your breastbone (sternum)
- Unexpected weight loss
Patients with any of these conditions may have problems with swallowing or feeding:
- Brain injury
- Cardiac problems
- Cerebral palsy
- Dementia or Alzheimer's disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Neurological conditions
- Oral weakness
- Parkinson's disease
- Spina bifida
- Tube feedings
Speech-language pathologists will use several methods to determine the most appropriate therapy for you. You will be evaluated and together we will create a personal plan for therapy.
Your therapy may include:
- Compensatory techniques
- Diet modification to increase safety
- Laryngeal pharyngeal strengthening and coordination exercises
- Optimal positioning to increase safety
- Oral motor strengthening and coordination
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.