Many kids are picky eaters. But if you’ve noticed that your child has difficulty chewing or swallowing food or drinks, it may be due to a disorder called dysphagia, which means “difficulty swallowing.”
Normally, food and liquid pass from the mouth to the throat and into the esophagus, eventually finding their way to the stomach. In kids with dysphagia, the normal swallowing process is disrupted. Food or drinks may go into the windpipe or lungs instead of the stomach, which can lead to serious problems such as:
Dysphagia can affect babies as well as children, and symptoms can vary. A baby with dysphagia may show symptoms such as:
In children, dysphagia symptoms may include:
Many of these symptoms also may be caused by other conditions. If your child has signs of dysphagia, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
Dysphagia may be caused by numerous factors ranging from large tonsils and structural abnormalities to developmental delays and problems that affect the nerves and muscles involved with swallowing.
Mercy Kids pediatricians evaluate and diagnose feeding and swallowing problems using the most precise techniques. Once we know what’s causing the problem our pediatric specialists, along with your child's personal physician, will develop a personalized treatment plan for your child that also considers their age, overall health, and ability to tolerate medications or procedures.
Treatment may include:
We’ll also share tips and techniques to help make eating easier and more enjoyable for your child. At Mercy, we’re committed to helping your child live – and eat – well.