Manhattan Gastroenterology
  • MIDTOWN 51 EAST 25TH, 4 FL New York, NY, 10010
  • UPPER EAST SIDE 983 PARK AVE, STE 1D New York, NY, 10028
  • UNION SQUARE 55 W. 17TH ST STE 102 New York, NY, 10011

If you are experiencing dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, you should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan and to exclude a serious condition.

If you have difficulty swallowing food or liquids you may have a medical condition called dysphagia. If you are experiencing dysphagia, you should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan and to exclude a serious illness or condition such as esophageal cancer or other causes.  There are many potential causes of dysphagia which will require a thorough evaluation.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★I was able to be seen by Dr. Yakubov the same day. The office was clean and upscale, and I was seen by the medical assistant within a few minutes of arriving. Dr. Yakubov was very easy to talk to, and explained all of his thoughts and everything we went through during the appointment. I got what I needed from this appointment, and I felt very comfortable. The appointment duration was also very appropriate.

Symptoms of Difficulty Swallowing

If an obstruction is blocking your windpipe or preventing you from breathing properly, get medical help
immediately. Symptoms of swallowing difficulty can include:

  • Coughing or choking when trying to swallow
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Unable to swallow
  • Drooling
  • Hoarseness
  • Feeling like food is stuck in your throat or chest
  • Regurgitation
  • Heartburn / GERD
  • Acid reflux
  • Dehydration
  • Unexpected weight loss

Causes of Difficulty Swallowing

When you swallow, it seems like a natural act, but it’s actually composed of three actions: moving food or liquid from your mouth to your throat, squeezing it down your throat past your windpipe, and sending it down your esophagus to your stomach. Problems can occur during any of the three actions.

Mouth causes of swallowing difficulty include:

  • Dry mouth, not enough saliva to move food out of your mouth, which can be caused by medications or a different health issue

Throat causes of swallowing difficulty (oropharyngeal dysphagia) include:

  • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or post-polio syndrome
  • Neurological damage such as from a spinal cord injury or stroke
  • Cancer and some cancer treatments
  • A condition called pharyngeal diverticula that creates a small pouch in your throat, just above your esophagus, that collects food and leads to difficulty swallowing and other problems

Esophagus causes of swallowing difficulty (esophageal dysphagia) include:

esophageal cancer

  • Esophageal muscle weakness (a condition known as achalasia) or other motility disorders
  • Esophageal stricture, a narrowing of your esophagus
  • Eosinophillic Esophagitis
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Food allergies
  • Food-created blockages
  • Involuntary muscle spasms or other motility disorders
  • Lymph nodes or bone spurs pressing on your esophagus
  • Scar tissue caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Scleroderma, when your esophagus hardens and narrows

Diagnosing Difficulty Swallowing

Because the symptoms can indicate a serious disease like cancer, you should consult one of our gastroenterology specialists for a thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis. They will give perform  a physical exam, review your medical history and order a number of tests to narrow down the diagnosis.  An X-ray of your neck and/or chest with a contrast solution, usually liquid barium, may be ordered and will show where food and liquid are getting stuck or may allude to a motility disorders. Our doctors will need to perform an  upper endoscopy in order to directly visualize your esophagus to rule out any mass lesions and in order to take biopsies of the lining of your esophagus to rule out eosinophillic esophagitis.  Manometry allows the doctor to measure the pressure inside your esophagus in order to diagnose a motility disorder as a cause of your symptoms.

Treating Difficulty Swallowing

The treatment of your symptoms will depend on the underlying cause and the diagnosis. As discussed above, there are many possible causes of your symptoms. Your gastroenterologist will be able to prescribe an individualized treatment plan once a diagnosis is made.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only trained, experienced gastroenterologists like our doctors can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

As best in class NYC gastroenterologists, our doctors provide highly personalized and comprehensive care. For more information about your difficulty swallowing concerns or to schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, please contact our Union Square/Chelsea, Midtown or Upper East Side NYC offices.

Best-in-class New York gastroenterologists

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Call now to make an appointment with our award winning, board certified Gastroenterologists regarding your digestive health. We look forward to seeing you!

book online now (212) 427-8761
Manhattan Gastroenterology Locations: Manhattan Gastroenterology (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave Ste 1D, NY 10028
(212) 427-8761
Manhattan Gastroenterology (Midtown) 51 East 25th Street Ste 407, NY 10010
(212) 533-2400
Manhattan Gastroenterology (Union Square) 55 W 17th St Ste 102, NY 10011
(212) 378-9983


The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class gastroenterologist for a consultation and examination regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including abdominal pain, hemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should only be made by your physician in order to exclude a serious condition.