Difficulty swallowing can lead to:
- Malnutrition, weight loss and dehydration.
- Aspiration pneumonia. Food or liquid can enter the airway and cause pneumonia.
The evaluation begins with a careful history from you. Tests will then be performed on you depending on the suspected type of dysphagia.
- Upper GI Endoscopy and biopsy of tissues suspicious of cancer.
- Esophageal Manometry: to assess esophageal muscle incoordination.
- Barium swallow(X-ray with a contrast material):In case a complete endoscopic examination is not possible.
- Imaging scans: These may include a CT scan or an MRI scanto look for lesions causing external compression of esophagus.
- Enlarged veins in your esophagus or stomach, called varices. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to lower the pressure in the veins of your esophagus or stomach. This lowers the chance that the veins become enlarged and burst, causing internal bleeding. If you vomit blood or have black or bloody stools go to a hospital right away.
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet, called edema. Your doctor may prescribe medicines that remove fluid from your body. Your doctor will recommend limiting the amount of salt in your diet.
- Buildup of fluid in your abdomen, called ascites. Your doctor may prescribe medicines that remove fluid from your body. Your doctor will recommend limiting the amount of salt in your diet. I
- Confusion, difficulties thinking, memory loss, personality changes, or sleep disorders, called hepatic encephalopathy.
If dysphagia is not treatable by the above means then the following treatment can be done:
- A special liquid diet
- A feeding tube
- Esophageal stenting