Dysphagia refers to a swallowing disorder that affects a person’s ability to swallow food, liquids, or saliva safely and efficiently. It can occur at any age and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.
The symptoms of dysphagia can vary depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:
• Difficulty swallowing solid foods, liquids, or both.
• Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat or chest.
• Pain or discomfort while swallowing.
• Coughing or choking during or after eating.
• Regurgitation of food or liquids.
• Unexpected weight loss or malnutrition due to inadequate intake of food.
Dysphagia can arise from various causes, including:
• Neurological conditions: Conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can affect the nerves and muscles involved in swallowing.
• Structural abnormalities: Conditions like esophageal strictures, tumors, or narrowing of the esophagus due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can obstruct the passage of food.
• Muscular disorders: Certain muscular disorders like muscular dystrophy or myasthenia gravis can weaken the muscles involved in swallowing.
• GERD: Chronic acid reflux can cause inflammation and scarring of the esophagus, leading to swallowing difficulties.
Risk Factors –
Several factors increase the risk of developing dysphagia, including:
• Age: Older adults are more prone to dysphagia due to natural aging processes and increased prevalence of underlying conditions.
• Certain medical conditions: Individuals with neurological disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or head and neck cancers are at a higher risk.
• Medications and treatments: Some medications can cause dry mouth or affect muscle function, contributing to swallowing difficulties. Radiation therapy and surgeries in the head and neck region can also lead to dysphagia.
To diagnose dysphagia, healthcare professionals employ various methods, including:
• Medical history review: Discussing symptoms and medical history helps identify potential causes of dysphagia.
• Physical examination: Examining the mouth, throat, and neck can reveal any structural abnormalities.
• Swallowing tests: Radiographic tests like a barium swallow or video fluoroscopy provide detailed images of the swallowing process, helping identify abnormalities.
• Endoscopy: An endoscope is inserted through the mouth to visualize the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine, allowing for the detection of structural issues.
If left untreated, dysphagia can lead to several complications, including:
• Malnutrition and dehydration: Difficulty swallowing can result in inadequate food and fluid intake, leading to nutritional deficiencies and dehydration.
• Aspiration pneumonia: When food or liquids enter the airway instead of the esophagus, it can cause lung infections, such as pneumonia.
• Social and emotional impact: Dysphagia can lead to anxiety, social isolation, and reduced quality of life, as individuals may avoid social situations involving food.
Ayurvedic Treatment –
The herbs that effectively cure the symptoms of Dysphagia are the following:
Licorice is an Ayurvedic remedy for Dysphagia. It has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Throat discomfort, indigestion, gastric ulcers, and heartburn can all be relieved with this herb.
Amla is an effective remedy to treat Dysphagia due to its healthy properties. Amla is an antioxidant with a high concentration of Vitamin C, making it a rejuvenator and a cooling agent with calming properties. Because it is sour, it aids in the stimulation of digestive juices.
Haritaki is an effective herb with laxative, digestive tonic, expectorant, anti-dysentery, carminative, astringent properties. Its warm potency helps to relieve flatulence and the formation of gastric problems. It can pacify all three doshas. It also provides relief in heartburn.
Bahera is an herb used to treat Tridoshas. It can excrete excessive mucus(Kapha) from the intestines and benefits in the right amount of excretion of juices. It also supports the digestion process. .
It is an effective remedy in alleviating gaseous distension of the abdomen, abdominal pain due to gas, acidity, and constipation.
This herb helps to strengthen the complete digestive system. It stimulates the liver, pancreas, and intestines to secrete digestive juices.
Jeera is the most common herbal plant used in reducing abdominal pain due to gas and flatulence. The decoction of jeera helps relieve abdominal gas problems and heartburn.
Coriander seeds are Pitta pacifying, and they also help treat swallowing problems with other dysphagia symptoms.
Ginger helps reduce all the symptoms of Dysphagia. So, consume ¼ spoon honey with ¼ spoon of ginger juice every day to aid the swallowing process and eliminate other related symptoms.
• Horse Gram
Horse Gram relieves burning sensations in the abdomen and chest and can help with sore throats. So, take some horse gram powder and keep it in your mouth. Slowly suck it for a couple of minutes and finally let it in. .
Ayurvedic Medicines –
• Guluchyadi kashayam
• Drakshadi gulika
• Shatavari ghrita
• Shankha bhasma
• Amlapittantak lauha
• Shaddharanam churna
• Shankha vati
• Avipattikara churna
• Maharasnadi kashayam
• Yogendra rasa
• Rasaraja rasa
• Dhanwantharam ghrita
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