Difficulty Swallowing

Difficulty swallowing is most commonly the result of a sore throat due to infection. Self-treatment should ease the soreness and allow normal swallowing. However, persistent difficulty with swallowing may be due to a disorder of the stomach or oesophagus, the tube connecting the throat to the stomach, and should be investigated by your doctor.

  • Is your throat sore?

    • Sore

      Is it possible that you have swallowed something sharp, such as a fish bone?

      • Possible
        • Possible cause Something may have either scratched your throat or become lodged in it.

          Medical help URGENT! Phone your doctor immediately!

      • Unlikely
    • Not sore

      Which of the following applies?

      • Food seems to stick high up in the chest

        Do you often get a burning pain in the centre of the chest in either of the following situations?

        • When you bend forward
        • When you lie down
        • Neither

          Does either of the following apply?

          • The swallowing difficulty is getting worse
          • You have lost weight
          • Neither
            • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your difficulty swallowing from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • You have a feeling of something being stuck in the throat
        • Possible cause Anxiety disorders may be a cause of this type of difficulty with swallowing.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • Neither
        • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your difficulty swallowing from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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