Swallowing Disorders

Speech Pathologists are uniquely qualified to assess swallowing and have received special training in dysphagia (a swallowing disorders).

Swallowing disorders can occur at any of the follow stages:

Oral phase - sucking, chewing and moving food/liquid to the throat.
Pharyngeal phase - starting the swallow reflex, squeezing the food down the throat, closing the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airway.
Esophageal phase - relaxing and tightening the openings at the top and bottom of the esophagus and transporting the food into the stomach.

What is Dysphagia?

Difficulty in swallowing Dysphagia is common among all age groups, especially the elderly. The term Dysphagia refers to the feeling of difficulty passing food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach.

Dysphagia Treatment

Treatment is tailored to the particular cause of the swallowing disorder. Esophageal phase disorders can often be treated with medication.  Drugs that slow stomach acid production, muscle relaxants and antacids are a few of the many medicines available.

Our Therapists begin with a clinical swallowing evaluation which includes:

  • Review of the case history, including medical conditions, current medications, and history of swallowing concern.
  • Evaluation of strength and movement of structures involved in swallowing.
  • Observation of eating and drinking.
  • Following this portion of the evaluation, a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS) may be recommended.
  • Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS) – Ingestion of food or drink mixed with barium, viewed and assessed by the SLP and radiologist using imaging in a radiology suite. During this examination, the SLP will observe the swallow and assess safety of swallow with various consistencies and textures of foods.
  • The Therapist may make recommendations that include therapy for your swallowing and/or diet and lifestyle modifications.