Difficulty Swallowing Underlying Cause
Swallowing involves a sequence of actions as the food moves from the mouth to the stomach.
These actions include:
- After chewing, the tongue propels the food into the back of the throat.
- The top of the esophagus opens.
- Muscles in the throat propel the food into the esophagus.
- Muscles in the wall of the esophagus propel the food down the esophagus.
- The top of the esophagus closes.
- The bottom of the esophagus opens.
- Food enters the stomach.
- The bottom of the esophagus closes, preventing food from backing up into the esophagus after it reaches the stomach.
Difficulty swallowing may be caused by the following processes:
- Weakness of the muscles that regulate swallowing
- Obstruction of the esophagus
- Narrowing of the esophagus
- Irritation of the esophagus
- Injury to the esophagus
Common causes of difficulty swallowing include:
- Allergic reactions
- Acute angioedema
- Alcohol intoxication
- Drug abuse
- Drug side effect causing difficulty swallowing:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Head injury
- Mouth swelling:
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Throat swelling:
- Tongue swelling:
Less common causes of difficulty swallowing include:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Chagas disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Esophageal atresia:
- Failure of the esophagus to develop normally
- Esophageal cancer
- Esophageal stricture
- Laryngeal cancer
- Ludwig's angina
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Myasthenia gravis
- Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
- Parkinson's disease
- Peritonsillar abscess
- Retropharyngeal abscess
- Schatzki's ring
- Thyroid cancer
- Transient ischemic attack
Continue to Difficulty Swallowing Types
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