Difficulty or Problems with Swallowing

There are many reasons why you feel pain or difficulty in swallowing food. Many of these are related to benign processes, and include:
A narrowing in the oesophagus - benign oesophageal stricture
Problems with the valve (sphincter) at the end of the oesophugus
Spasms effecting the sphincter / oesophugus
However, swallowing difficulty is one of the common symptoms of oesophagus cancer and should always be investigated.
Difficulty swallowing is usually investigated with a gastroscopy (OGD, upper endoscopy). A barium swallow (an x-ray test for patients who do not tolerate endoscopy, or used to obtain additional information about the oesophagus) and oesophageal motility studies (pressure assessments of the oesophagus) can also be used.
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Christopher Chan
BSc (Hons) PhD FRCS (Gen Surg)
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