FAQ's / What is a swallowing disorder?

Written by Med Speech. Posted in

You may hear your healthcare worker or speech language pathologist refer to your swallowing disorder as dysphagia (dis-FAY-juh). Dysphagia is the technical term for impaired ability to move food from the mouth to the stomach. During a normal swallow, food is put into the mouth, chewed thoroughly, then pushed to the back of the mouth by the tongue. The food then leaves the mouth and enters the pharynx (common pathway for food and air), where the brain triggers an involuntary swallow reflex (pharyngeal swallow). A series of muscle contractions push the food through the pharynx and close off the airway (trachea) so no food enters it. This part of the swallow lasts less than a second, so timing is very important. The food then enters the esophagus (food tube) and muscle contractions push the food down into the stomach. Breakdown anywhere along this pathway can result in swallowing difficulty. READ MORE