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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes difficulty in swallowing liquids?

Answered by
Dr. Sumit Bhatti

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2569 Questions

Posted on Sat, 17 Oct 2015 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Often when drinking liquids I get them into my "wind pipe" which causes me coughing until the liquid is gone. This seems to be happening more & more frequently. Can you give me any ideas on what may be causing this?
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Most likely a neurological or oesophageal motility disorder.

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for your query.

1. Difficulty in swallowing liquids is usually seen with neurological disorders and some benign oesophageal (food pipe) problems (as compared to difficulty in swallowing solid food as seen with tumours).

2. A Neurologist's opinion must be sought. An ENT and a Gastroenterologist's opinion may also be taken. A chest X-ray should be done.

3. Thicken the liquids and check if the problem persists. The first thickened feeds should be carefully monitored. Different swallowing and head, neck posture strategies can help swallowing.

4. FEES (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) and FEESST (Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing with Sensory Testing) is possible in a Swallowing Lab.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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