A medical evaluation helps your doctor pinpoint the cause of your dysphagia. Your evaluation may include a health history and some special tests. Your doctor will make a treatment plan based on the results of your evaluation. You may need to take medications. And in some cases, your doctor may suggest dilating the esophagus.
What You Can Do
To help control dysphagia, follow your treatment plan. Take all medications as directed. And help lessen your dysphagia symptoms by being careful about what and how you eat.
You may need medications to:
- Neutralize or reduce stomach acids
- Control esophagus muscle spasms
Dilation is a procedure that your doctor can use to widen the esophagus. It is most often done when a stricture is causing your dysphagia. There are a number of ways your doctor can widen the esophagus. He or she can discuss them with you.
Occupational Speech Therapy
Your doctor may suggest you have an evaluation or sessions with a speech or occupational therapist. These specialists in dysphagia may give you exercises and instructions to help you eat safely.
- Eat slowly in a relaxed setting.
- Don't talk while you eat.
- Take small bites.
- Sit in an upright position during and after meals.
- Ask your doctor about any special diets that may help, such as liquid diets.
- Use a blender to pur©e solid foods, if needed.
- Thicken liquids with milk, juice, broth, gravy, or starch to make swallowing easier.