Swallowing Disorders and Causes - NY Otolaryngology Group

Swallowing disorders can occur in all age groups, particularly in the elderly. Normal swallowing involves protecting your airway while transporting food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Swallowing problems arise when airway protection is compromised. Swallowing difficulties can lead to weight loss and pneumonia, but are often treatable with therapy. It is important to work to have a specialist perform an examination to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis.

Common Swallowing Disorders

  • Coughing, choking, or throat clearing while eating
  • Pain or discomfort while eating
  • Feeling like food gets stuck in your throat
  • Feeling like food or liquid “goes down too fast” or “goes down the wrong way”
  • Difficulty managing mucous or secretions

Common Swallowing Disorder Causes

  • Vocal fold paralysis, or tumors of the head, neck, or esophagus
  • Laryngo-pharyngeal reflux disease or gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neurogenic diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Muscle weakness related to aging