Occasional problems with swallowing happen to many people. Eating too
fast, trying to swallow large pieces of food, or talking while eating may cause
problems with swallowing. If you feel nervous or anxious, you may have a
feeling of fullness in your throat and a sense of not being able to swallow
Trouble with swallowing (dysphagia) occurs when food does not pass
normally from the mouth through the
esophagus to the stomach. This may allow some of the
stomach juices to flow back into the esophagus, which causes a burning
sensation or feelings of heartburn.
Dysphagia may occur because of problems with the mouth, tongue, or
teeth that interfere with the normal process of chewing and swallowing. You may
drool, spill food out of your mouth, or have a very dry mouth. You may feel
like your food is catching in your throat or you may feel as if you need to
swallow repeatedly just to get the food to go down. This could cause you to
cough or feel as if you are choking.
Trouble with swallowing may also be caused by a narrowing or blockage
of the esophagus. The muscles that are needed to move food or fluids through
the esophagus may not be working correctly. Trouble swallowing that occurs
with weight loss may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as
cancer of the esophagus.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.