Swallowing Disorders

Dysphagia

Problems eating or drinking may involve your mouth, throat, or upper esophagus. This can result in malnutrition, dehydration, or pneumonia, as well as social isolation due to embarrassment, or loss of enjoyment from eating. 
 
During a clinical swallow evaluation, your Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) will ask you questions about your swallowing difficulties, and examine the movement of your mouth and throat. They may ask you to eat or drink different consistencies of foods/liquids. 
 
Your SLP may recommend a specialized swallow study to further investigate your swallowing problem. 
 
  • Modified Barium Swallow (MBS) Studies, also called Videoflouroscopy
    This exam takes place in a radiology suite, and you will be asked to sit in a special chair. Your therapist will ask you to eat and drink different types of foods and liquids which are white in color, because they are mixed with a substance called barium, which makes it possible to see the food on x-ray. The therapist will take an x-ray video while you are eating and drinking. Your SLP may ask you to try different strategies, such as tucking your chin or turning your head while swallowing. Read more from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association
 
 
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
    This exam can be completed in your hospital room or in our outpatient clinic. The therapist first applies a numbing gel to your nostrils, and then will place a thin camera into your nose to watch your vocal cords and throat as you swallow. You will be asked to eat and drink different types of foods and liquids which will be dyed blue in color. Your SLP may ask you to try different strategies, such as tucking your chin or turning your head while swallowing. Read more from the American Speech Language Hearing Association


Treatment options

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for swallowing problems. Please ask your speech-language pathologist what treatment options are best for you. 

Exercises

Your SLP may recommend exercises to strengthen weak muscles to improve your swallow function and safety. For some patients, therapists might suggest neuromuscular electrical stimulation in coordination with exercises. 
 

Compensatory strategies

Therapists might suggest strategies such as turning your head to one side, tucking your chin, or coughing after you swallow. 
 

Diet modifications

To prevent or reduce the likelihood of food or liquids entering your airway, your SLP may suggest that you thicken your liquids or eat softer foods. 
 
For more information:
 
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (442) 281-3242 or visit our locations.