Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
Your problem might be explained by intermittent spasms of the muscle of the esophagus wall (a problem called diffuse esophageal spasm). When this occurs, you might notice chest heaviness or chest pain. Alternatively, your esophagus muscle might contract in a way that is not coordinated from top to bottom, so that food is not smoothly propelled downwards.
When your problem has been identified, your doctor can recommend treatment.
Tests that might be recommended by your doctor include a video swallowing study (this study uses an x-ray technique called fluoroscopy to videotape your swallowing while you consume samples of foods or drink containing a material that can show up on x-ray), esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD (viewing of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum with a camera on a flexible, narrow cord), or a barium swallow (x-ray views of the esophagus after you swallow a liquid that shows up on x-ray).
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