Difficulty Swallowing

Difficulty Swallowing services offered in Waldorf, MD

Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, often surfaces as a lump in your throat, food stuck in your chest, or a choking reflex when you eat. At GI Associates of Maryland, with an office in Waldorf, Maryland, and an endoscopy center next door, the foremost gastroenterology specialists in Southern Maryland offer comprehensive care for dysphagia. They’re a private practice, not part of a giant healthcare conglomerate, so you get customized medical care that meets your needs. Book your appointment through online scheduling or call the office today.

Difficulty Swallowing Q & A

When is difficulty swallowing a problem?

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) might seem slightly irritating initially, but it can soon cause frustrating issues. Signs that difficulty swallowing is a problem requiring medical care include: 

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Food getting stuck in your throat or behind the breastbone
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Gagging when swallowing
  • Coughing when swallowing 
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Drooling
  • Regurgitating food up to your throat or nose

If you fail to get treatment for dysphagia, the underlying condition causing these issues could worsen, potentially causing long-term damage. So, getting an early response as soon as your swallowing difficulties start is always best. 

What causes difficulty swallowing?

Dysphagia is very common in people with chronic acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), over a long period. 

Difficulty swallowing can also occur in people who have swallowing disorders. One example is achalasia, in which the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) at the bottom of the esophagus doesn’t open properly, and food, liquid, and saliva can remain in the esophagus. 

Difficulty swallowing can also occur with bacterial infections, neurological conditions like stroke, and esophageal or mouth cancers. 

Are there treatments for difficulty swallowing?

The GI Associates of Maryland team thoroughly assesses your symptoms and carefully examines your mouth and throat. They also consider your medical history and lifestyle to determine what testing you need to confirm your diagnosis. 

Patients with dysphagia may need a few diagnostic tests, including a barium swallow study, esophageal muscle test (manometry), or endoscopic exam of your esophagus using a miniature camera. The team performs these tests in their endoscopy center. 

What happens after I am diagnosed with dysphagia?

After your diagnosis, the team creates a personalized dysphagia treatment plan. Treatments vary widely according to the root cause of your swallowing difficulty. 

Medication, Botox® injections, esophagus stretching procedures, and minimally invasive surgery are common treatments. People with swallowing disorders may need advanced measures like a feeding tube.

GI Associates of Maryland is committed to giving Southern Maryland residents the benefits of a patient-centered private practice approach to treatment. If you need compassionate and supportive help for difficulty swallowing, book your appointment online or call the office today.