Esophageal Dysphagia

(Dysphagia, Esophageal; Difficulty Swallowing [Esophagus])


Dysphagia refers to difficulties during the swallowing process. Esophageal dysphagia occurs when swallowing problems happen in the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that transports food from the throat to the stomach
Esophagus and Stomach
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A number of conditions can cause esophageal dysphagia, such as:

Risk Factors

Many conditions and factors may increase your risk of esophageal dysphagia, like:


Symptoms may include:


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests will be done to assess your swallowing function. These may include:
Your throat may need to be viewed. This can be done with:
Your esophageal muscles may be tested. This can be done with an esophageal manometry test.


Treatment depends on the cause, but may include:


You can reduce your risk by getting early treatment for any related condition, like GERD.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Dysphagia Research Society


Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologist


Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia) in Adults. American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: Published 2008. May 4, 2016.

Dysphagia. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: Accessed May 4, 2016.

Dysphagia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 2, 2015. Accessed May 4, 2016.

Dysphagia. World Gastroenterology Organisation website. Available at: Published 2007. Accessed May 4, 2016.

Font J, Underbrink M. Esophageal dysphagia. University of Texas Medical Branch website. Available at: Published February 6, 2008. Accessed May 4, 2016.

Palmer J, Drennan J, Baba M. Evaluation and treatment of swallowing impairments. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Apr 15;61(8):2453-62. Available at: Accessed May 4, 2016.

05/21/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Regan J, Murphy A, et al. Botulinum toxin for upper oesophageal sphincter dysfunction in neurological swallowing disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;5:CD009968.

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