Difficulty with swallowing is the feeling that food or liquid is stuck in the throat or at any point before the food enters the stomach. This problem is also called dysphagia.
This may be caused by a brain or nerve disorder, stress or anxiety, or problems that involve the back of the tongue, the throat, and the esophagus (tube leading from the throat to the stomach).
Symptoms of swallowing problems include:
Symptoms may be mild or severe.
Most people with dysphagia should be checked by a health care provider if the symptoms persist or come back. But these general tips may help.
You may need someone to remind you to finish swallowing. It may also help to ask caregivers and family members not to talk to you when you are eating or drinking.
Call your provider if:
Ambrosi D, Lee YT. Rehabilitation of swallowing disorders. In: Cifu DX, ed. Braddom's Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 3.
DeVault KR. Symptoms of esophageal disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 13.
Emmett SD. Otolaryngology in the elderly. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 13.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/6/2022
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Health Content Provider
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2023 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.