It is unfortunate that many of us will have to face health problems in our lives, but thanks to technology, health care assistants, and science, we have also come a long way into learning how to cope with and treat different illnesses. While our advancements in medicine continue to grow and progress, so does our ability to learn how to cope with an illness as we are experiencing it.
When it comes to swallowing disorders such as dysphagia, you might wonder what you can do to alleviate the uncomfortable and painful side effects of a disorder so intrusive as to cut off the means of eating and drinking. If you or a loved one are looking for ways to help you get through this disorder, you will find in this piece some tips on how to make coping with the disorder easier.
Dysphagia – What is it?
Dysphagia is a disorder that affects the throat – predominantly swallowing.
It can occur on a regular basis, or even just be occasional, but it could also be symptomatic of a serious underlying health issue. Those who suffer from GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease may also experience dysphagia, and the severity of the symptoms can reflect on the severity of the reflux. Reflux (stomach acid) can damage the throat and can cause scar tissue which makes swallowing more difficult.
Symptoms of Dysphagia
Symptoms of Dysphagia, aside from a difficulty in swallowing, include pain when swallowing, acid reflux, difficulty chewing, choking on water, food, or saliva, having problems with coughing, a sore throat, and feeling like food is stuck in your chest, to name just a few.
What Should You Avoid?
While some of these might appear common sense, such as avoiding alcohol, you should also consider avoiding anything citrus and acidic, such as tomatoes, cheapest vegetables as these can make symptoms worse. Avoid any caffeinated beverages, fried foods, and herbs such as peppermint as well. There are specialist diets that have been created to help with not-aggravating the disorder further, but make sure to check with your doctor if it is the right course of action for you. You may have allergies with some plants and hence inspect your indoor plant hangers.
What Could Help?
Pureed foods or soft foods that are easy to go down such as cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, and fruits, to name a few, can help those with dysphagia get the food and nutrients they need into their body without adding to the stress of trying to consume food. To make this easier, thickening agents can be added to the pureed food, such as Simply Thick, a thickener that has been recommended for those with dysphagia.
Other options could include surgery, or training the muscles in your throat how to work together again which is done by exercising the larynx. There is also medication available that could help certain causes of dysphagia, such as GERD, oesophagus issues, or something as simple but painful as heartburn. The doctor will able to run through your options with you, and some treatments may need repeating to have the desired effect, but there are options to help!