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Dysphagia (swallowing problems)

Swallowing is quite a complicated process. It involves co-ordination of impulses from the brain, along with muscles of the mouth, throat and food pipe (oesophagus) to move food substances into the stomach. Problems with any one of these structures can result in difficulty in swallowing. This may result in food going the wrong way down into the airway (aspiration), choking or coughing fits, regurgitation of food, painful swallowing or the sensation of food or pills being stuck. Swallowing problems can lead to weight loss and nutrition problems.

ENT surgeons, in co-ordination with speech pathologists, may be able to assist when the issue relates to mouth or throat problems. They can also work with gastroenterologists (who can assess the oesophagus) in formulating a diagnosis.

Assessment of swallowing problems by an ENT surgeon usually involves having a telescope placed through your nose to assess your throat, and often imaging of your swallow. Treatment will depend on the individual cause of your swallowing issues.

Dr Hodge has completed a subspecialty fellowship in laryngology, including swallowing disorders, and has a special interest in swallowing problems. She can assess your swallowing issues and organise investigations and treatment as appropriate