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Having severe pain while swallowing food. Any thoughts what is causing this?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 364 Questions
I am having medium to severe pain on swallowing food or drink. It lasts for few a few minutes, and then fades. I have also noticed it sometimes at night on an intermittent basis...I think in time with the swallowing of my saliva. I have tried taking Zantac and some antacids, but they don't seem to really help. Any thoughts on what I can do to relieve the pain.
Posted Sat, 17 Nov 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Enrique Molina 48 minutes later
Having pain upon swallowing is not normal at all. This is called "odynophagia". The most common causes are ulcers or inflammation of the esophagus. This can be caused by multiple reasons, the most common being candida infection of the esophagus (most common in immunosuppressed patients), but also "pill induced esophagitis" is very common with certain medications (the classic drugs are fosamax and tetracycline).
Other reason for your symptoms could be an esophageal spasm, better known as "diffuse esophageal spasm".
Therefore it is important to identify the reason for your symptoms as the treatment is completely different for each entity. A gastroenterologist will be able to do the diagnostic work up.
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