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Swallowing

Contact Information

Voice and Swallowing Clinic, UW Hospital

 

Related Information

Stages of Swallowing

drinking waterSwallowing disorders and conditions are treated by UW Health's highly-trained team of speech pathologists. Speech pathologists in the Voice and Swallow Clinic who specialize in swallowing work closely with the otolaryngology staff in a team approach to the treatment of swallowing disorders.

 

About Swallowing

 

Swallowing is a complicated function that the body does relatively automatically. But if an injury, disease or another problem impairs the body's ability to perform this important function, it can have significant medical, physical and psychological consequences.

 

Problems with Swallowing

 

Difficulty swallowing can arise as a result of many conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Neurological disease such as Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis
  • Vocal fold paralysis
  • Surgery to the neck or throat
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Deconditioning

Symptoms of Difficulty Swallowing

 

People with difficulty swallowing usually exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty chewing solids
  • Having food or liquids dripping out of the mouth
  • A sensation of food "sticking" in the throat
  • Coughing during or shortly after swallowing
  • Frequent throat clearing while eating or drinking
  • Wet or gurgly voice with eating or drinking
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • Unexplained weight loss

Diagnosing Swallowing Problems

 

The professionals at UW Health's Voice and Swallowing Clinic perform comprehensive reviews, taking into consideration any medical, surgical, lifestyle, occupational and emotional factors related to your swallowing concern. Our swallow specialists use the most advanced imaging techniques, including videofluoroscopy, endoscopy and high-resolution pharyngeal manometry, to evaluate swallow function. Information from these evaluations is used to facilitate safe and efficient eating/drinking and guide treatment planning.

 

Methods of diagnosing swallowing problems include:

  • Videofluoroscopic swallow study
  • Dysphagia evaluation
  • Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing

Evaluating Swallowing Problems

 

Swallowing disorders and conditions are evaluated by UW Health's highly-trained team of otolaryngology specialists. 

 

Learn how UW Health Voice and Swallowing professionals evaluate swallowing problems