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dysphagia in childrenDysphagia definition is a diseases which creates difficulties in swallowing the food or liquid. The sufferer child can not close the mouth to chew the foods. The problem is found in esophagus which is a tube to carry food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. It can affect the body at any stage but the children are more likely to be affected.

Dysphagia Causes

  • Due to problem in sucking, chewing, moving the solid food or liquid into the throat.
  • The airway is closed off to prevent the food from entering into the stomach.
  • Due to physical malformations conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy or gastro esophageal reflux disease.
  • Muscles in esophagus don’t relax to let the food move into the stomach.
  • Dehydration or poor nutrition.
  • Lack of aspiration (food or liquid entering the airway) or penetration.
  • Pneumonia or repeated upper respiratory infections which  can lead to chronic lung disease.
  • Embarrassment  and isolation in social situations involving eating.

Dysphagia symptoms in children

The child may refuse foods and show lack of alertness during feeding or breastfeeding. Irritability and take long feeding time. Feel difficulty in chewing food and stiffness in body during feeding. Coughing or gagging during meals, difficulty in breathing while eating, drooling excessively. Voice quality gets gurgly, breathy and hoarse. Respiratory infections, chest pain and slow growth. Chronic heart burn, sore throat, feeling of belching, feeling of foods struck in the throat or chest are the common symptoms of dysphagia.

Treatment

This disease can be treated with drugs, exercises, procedures which can open the esophagus. Surgery may also be conducted to cure the disease. The hospitalization will be must in case of children. Some exercises will help in stimulating the nerves involved in swallowing the foods. The head may be positioned in such a way to get help in swallowing the foods. The doctor may try to dilate the esophagus with balloon attached to an endoscope. Surgery may be conducted in case it is due to tumor. The behavior management techniques, speech exercises and direct feeding therapy may be adopted.

Prevention

The moment a feeling of dysphagia is experienced by the child, allows the child to do some exercises to get relief. The tongue movement may be done. Muscles of mouth will improve these exercises. Chewing should be done repeatedly to get relaxation in swallowing the foods gradually. The throat relaxation exercise must be practiced to swallow the foods easily. Consult the doctor in case of difficulties being faced by the child. Dehydration can be cured by giving water regularly to avoid the problem.