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Difficulty Swallowing Is Always A Significant Symptom

Updated on July 29, 2008

Don't ignore this potentially dangerous symptom

Feeling your food getting stuck when you swallow is always a serious symptom. This is called dysphagia. The site of this obstructing or blocking sensation can be in the throat or half-way down the chest. The common causes of dysphagia include

· Stress related muscle sphincter tightness of the food pipe (in medical term, globus hystericus)

· Gastric acid reflux related food pipe inflammation (reflux esophagitis)

· Cancer of the food pipe (esophageal cancer)

· Nerve and muscular disorder involving the movement of the food pipe

· An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) compressing the food pipe

Often your physician may need special investigations to sort out which type of problem you are suffering from, so there is no point trying to self-diagnose or self-medicate. The problem is usually investigated by endoscopy of the upper gut (called gastroscopy) or a special X ray of the food pipe using contrast material (called Barium swallow). Your physician will decide which test is more appropriate in your particular situation. Both of these tests are very well tolerated by patients.

Do yourself a favor, seek help early. Even if your condition is one caused by stress, early diagnosis is beneficial. Besides, the other more serious conditions have to be excluded before we can safely treat the symptoms.

Please refer to my previous hub of gastroscopy: How To Make Your Gastroscopy Feel Like A Picnic

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