Three Conditions That Can Affect Swallowing

HomeHealthThree Conditions That Can Affect Swallowing

Swallowing might not seem like too much of an effort, and most of the time, it’s not something you’ll think about; you just do it, and it’s an automatic thing. However, when it comes to some conditions, swallowing can become much harder, and not only does it become something you have to think about doing, but it becomes a challenge to do it. 

This can be a scary thing, and it’s crucial to get medical help if you’re finding it difficult to swallow, as it’s going to affect your overall health—you may not be getting enough nutrients or hydration, for example. Plus, not being able to swallow properly is likely to be a symptom of something else, so it’s important to get checked out. With this in mind, here are some of the conditions that can affect swallowing.

1. Throat Cancer 

Throat cancer can cause major issues when it comes to swallowing because of where it’s located and how it affects the throat in general. When you’ve got cancerous growths in your throat area, that’s going to lead to inflammation, which means your throat will be narrower, and the tumors involved will mean that your throat is more obstructed. 

When it comes to throat cancer treatment, although it can help hugely, it can also make swallowing more difficult due to more inflammation and possibly pain as well. The outcome is worth going through the discomfort for most people, but it’s still helpful to know that it can be problematic in the meantime. Knowing throat cancer warning signs and getting help immediately is always the best course of action. 


GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, is what happens when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the throat. Furthermore, with time, the esophagus may constrict (a condition known as esophageal stricture), making it more difficult to swallow food and liquids since they can’t travel easily through the throat. Even if this isn’t the case, the excess acid can cause the feeling of lumping in your throat, give you a permanent sore throat, or even give you a burning sensation, and this can all interfere with swallowing. 

The good news is that GERD can be managed with some lifestyle changes, which your doctor can talk through with you—they’ll generally be related to the types of food you can eat. You could also opt to take medication or potentially undergo surgery, but it will depend on how severe your symptoms are. Your medical doctor will be able to give you the advice you’re looking for. 

3. A Stroke 

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain stops or is disrupted in some way, perhaps because of a blockage or a blood vessel ruptures, for example. You’ll have many physical issues after a stroke, and difficulty swallowing could well be one of them because the area of the brain responsible for swallowing could have been damaged. 

After a stroke, it’s a good idea to go through rehabilitation and physical therapy, as this can improve your mobility and your other functions, including swallowing. The sooner you realize that you’re having a stroke and get help, the better the outcome will be, so fast action is crucial, and learning the signs of a stroke is something everyone should do.

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