Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a fancy word for “difficulty swallowing.”  This difficulty can be caused by a multitude of medical issues including stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, medication changes, prematurity, cerebral palsy, etc.  It can affect people of all ages.  Our skilled speech therapists are trained to do both adult and pediatric swallowing evaluations and make recommendations to decrease your risk for aspiration pneumonia or other problems resulting from difficulty swallowing.

ASHA considers the following to be signs and symptoms of feeding and swallowing disorders in children:

  • arching or stiffening of the body during feeding
  • irritability or lack of alertness during feeding
  • refusing food or liquid
  • failure to accept different textures of food (e.g., only pureed foods or crunchy cereals)
  • long feeding times (e.g., more than 30 minutes)
  • difficulty chewing
  • difficulty breast feeding
  • coughing or gagging during meals
  • excessive drooling or food/liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
  • difficulty coordinating breathing with eating and drinking
  • increased stuffiness during meals
  • gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice quality
  • frequent spitting up or vomiting
  • recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • less than normal weight gain or growth

Source

General signs of swallowing problems in adults may include:

  • coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
  • extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow
  • food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
  • weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough

Source