Adult Dysphagia

At the Goshen Speech and Hearing Center, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders to improve patient safety, hydration, and nutrition. Adult dysphagia occurs when a person’s ability to eat and drink safely and efficiently is disrupted. Dysphagia may cause a person to experience pain or choking while swallowing, which presents significant concerns regarding safety, nutrition, and hydration. Dysphagia can occur across the lifespan but is most common in adults. The most common cause of dysphagia is stroke. Other causes include neurogenic disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), head and neck cancers, and brain or spinal cord injury. Swallowing disorders occur when any phase of the normal swallowing process is disrupted. Patients diagnosed with dysphagia may experience:
  • Coughing or choking before, during, or after swallowing
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Wet or gurgling sound when speaking after eating or drinking
  • Inability to swallow
  • Food getting caught in the throat
  • Less desire to eat or drink
  • More energy or time needed to chew and swallow
  • Food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • Frequent episodes of pneumonia or chest congestion
  • Weight loss or dehydration
Coughing and choking before, during, or after swallowing could be a potential sign of aspiration. Aspiration occurs when food or liquid enters the airway. If aspiration occurs often, there is greater risk for developing aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration may also be silent, meaning there are no visible or audible signs of aspirating. Dysphagia can be evaluated and treated by speech-language pathologists specializing in swallowing disorders. The speech-language pathologist will perform a full evaluation including medical history, current medical conditions, and present symptoms and will assess the strength and mobility of the swallowing muscles along with postural and oral movements while eating and drinking. The primary concerns for the treatment of swallowing disorders are safety, hydration, and nutrition. Treatment and therapy for dysphagia may include strengthening exercises to improve muscle movement during swallowing, utilizing head or body positions to aid safe and effective swallowing, and prescribing special liquid and food diets (varying in texture, thickness, and size) for safe and efficient swallowing. The Goshen Speech and Hearing Center provides professional speech-language pathology and swallowing therapy services to Orange County, NY and the Greater Hudson Valley community as well as the surrounding areas of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Contact our office by calling (845) 294-0661 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you.