Is there any treatment for swallowing disorders (dysphagia)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Changing a person's diet by adding thickeners helps many people, as does learning different ways to eat and chew that reduce the risk of aspiration. Occasionally, drug therapy that helps the neurological disorder can also help dysphagia. In a few persons, botulinum toxin injections can help when food or liquid cannot enter the esophagus to get to the stomach. More severely disabled individuals may require surgery or the insertion of feeding tubes.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Many people with dysarthria also have trouble swallowing, a problem called dysphagia. If this is the case, the speech-language pathologist will provide exercises to strengthen the mouth and throat muscles, as well as tips on how to prevent choking, such as taking small amounts of food at a time, eating slowly, and sitting up while eating. It may be necessary to eat pureed foods at first and gradually introduce more solid foods as muscle strength returns.

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