How does Dysphagia relate to snoring?

After eating, you may experience the feeling of something stuck in your throat if you have dysphagia.

Sometimes you may feel like there is food stuck in your throat and it is difficult to swallow. Some people have this chronically, which is called dysphagia. Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, can cause problems with sleep by causing snoring but can also be a result of a serious life event such as a stroke. This snoring may make it hard for someone with difficulty swallowing to get well rested. This combination of having trouble eating and poor sleep can lead to being exhausted constantly.


What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is just the fancy word for difficulty swallowing. There are two main types of dysphagia: oropharyngeal and esophageal. Oropharyngeal relates to the mouth and throat. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is generally described as difficulty transferring food from the mouth to the throat and even to the esophagus. Esophageal dysphagia generally is known as the feeling of food getting stuck in the back of your throat.


How does Dysphagia relate to Snoring?

Dysphagia can be a symptom of snoring. It is generally due to poor oropharyngeal and esophageal muscular control. This poor muscular control can cause snoring by obstructing the airway in the mouth and throat area by sagging. These muscles can become weak by certain diseases associated with the brain and cranial nerves. Diseases associated with the brain and cranial nerves can cause problems with the brain interacting with the throat, mouth, and the esophagus causing it to be difficult to swallow.


This means that if you have difficulty swallowing, you may be a victim of snoring. Dysphagia has also been observed to be related to sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is basically intense snoring where the afflicted person sometimes stops breathing during sleep due to the obstruction of the airway. The obstructed airway is generally associated with an extremely weak upper airway.


What can I do about my difficulty with swallowing?

What to do?

There are a few ways to help treat dysphagia which include:

  • Oropharyngeal Exercises
  • Learning Swallowing Techniques
  • Surgery
  • Esophageal Dilation
  • Medicine


Oropharyngeal exercises can help increase muscular control in the mouth and throat to increase swallowing ability. These exercises increase the strength of the tongue as well as the soft palate and certain throat muscles. Oropharyngeal exercises can help, not only with difficulty swallowing but with snoring since both disorders are related to a weak upper airway, whether the weakness is related to poor conditioning or poor muscular control.


There are specific swallowing techniques that can help with difficulty swallowing. These techniques should be confirmed with a doctor or medical team before attempting.


Surgery is a possibility but is generally for esophageal dysphagia caused due to a growth or tumor in the throat or esophagus. Surgery can be used to take out the said growth to help improve swallowing ability. This is not always necessary for treatment but can sometimes prove to be the most useful.


Esophageal Dilation can help with difficulty swallowing by expanding the esophagus. This, as you probably guessed, is targeted at people with esophageal dysphagia. Dilation can be done by inserting a balloon or flexible tube into the esophagus to gently expand it. There are different techniques and ways to dilate the esophagus, but some may just be temporary.

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