Dysphagia, or oropharyngeal dysphagia, is the medical term for difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia can occur at any age, but is seen more often in adults. Oropharyngeal dysphagia symptoms include coughing or choking while eating, difficulty chewing and/or problems moving food and liquids through the mouth or throat. The degree of impairment in swallowing and/or feeding may vary from mild to severe.
Children may also have motor, sensory and/or behavioral feeding impairments that result in poor weight gain/growth, gagging and limited acceptance of food textures and tastes.
In infants, dysphagia symptoms may include difficulty sucking, initiating the swallow or coordinating the suck-swallow-breathe sequence when feeding from the breast or bottle.
Comprehensive evaluation and treatment can assist individuals in avoiding medical problems such as pneumonia, malnutrition or dehydration. A Speech-Language Pathologist can provide evaluation and treatment services to improve swallowing and feeding skills.