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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.

Dysphagia is trouble swallowing. You may have trouble moving food or liquid from your mouth to your esophagus or down to your stomach. You may have the problem when you eat, drink, or any time you try to swallow. Dysphagia can last a short time, or it can be a permanent problem.

Abdominal Organs


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have chest pain.
  • You have shortness of breath.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You choke on your saliva.
  • You cannot eat or drink liquids at all.

Call your doctor or therapist if:

  • You lose weight without trying.
  • Your signs and symptoms get worse, or you have new signs or symptoms.
  • You have signs or symptoms of dehydration, such as increased thirst, dark yellow urine, or little or no urine.
  • You get colds often.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need to change the texture of the foods you eat to help reduce choking problems. Your healthcare provider may show you how to thicken liquids or soften foods to make them easier to swallow.

A therapist

can teach you different ways of swallowing by changing your head and body positions. You may be taught exercises to strengthen the muscles that help you swallow.

Follow up with your doctor or therapist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Dysphagia

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.