Dysphagia In Children – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Does your child face problems while he eats? Does your kid has trouble chewing and difficulty swallowing food? If you nodded along in solemn agreement, you might want to read our post.

He may be suffering from dysphagia. What is dysphagia? How does it occur? How do you treat it? Get the answers to your questions here. Help your child shoo his feeding disorders and swallowing problems away.

What Is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a term that describes your child’s difficulty or inability to feed or swallow. Feeding disorders and swallowing disorders in children are inter-linked, but the inability of swallowing is specifically known as ‘dysphagia’. The stages of dysphagia include oral, pharyngeal and esophageal. In the oral phase of Dysphagia, your child will face difficulties chewing or sucking food, during the pharyngeal phase he will face difficulties squeezing the food down into the food pipe. The esophageal phase is where he is unable to push the food from esophagus into the stomach.

Symptoms Of Dysphagia In Children:

The symptoms or signs of dysphagia may vary from one child to the other. The primary symptoms may include:

  1. Reinforcing his body at the beginning of a feed.
  1. Feeding routines become time-consuming.
  1. Irritability and inactivity during meal time
  1. He denies any form of food or liquids.
  1. He doesn’t like a change of colors in food.
  1. He suffers from unnecessary drooling during and feed or after the feed.
  1. Difficulty in breathing and eating simultaneously and lack of cooperation.
  1. Coughing during feeding sessions.
  1. He may throw up or vomit often.
  1. Your child may look abnormal in size and shape for his or her age due to the lack of nutrients.
  1. Your child might have breathing problems because of not being able to coordinate breathing with eating.
  1. Dehydration and dry skin due to fewer intakes of fluids.

Causes Of Dysphagia In Children:

While there are many reasons for the onset of dysphagia, some of the common ones include:

  1. Large tonsils
  1. Cleft lip or cleft palate
  1. Large tongue
  1. Dental problems (teeth that do not meet properly, like an overbite)
  1. Tumors or masses in the throat

[ Read: Gum Diseases In Children ]

Treating Dysphagia In Children:

Some of the common treatments for dysphagia in kids include:

  1. The doctor might suggest behavior oriented inspections and the respective treatment methods of optimal eating.
  1. An organized mealtime and neutral ambiance can help your child get over his irritability.
  1. Find a way with your child for yourself with professional guidance.
  1. Diet modifications are another way of improving his swallowing traditions, which includes changing the texture, thickness and other properties of food. How warm the food is, also plays a crucial part, as warm foods stimulate eating and swallowing and result in faster digestion.
  1. Try and find a bottle or utensils that are perfect for your little one.
  1. If your child develops enough cognitive skills, you can teach him how to swallow by showing him.
  1. Check if he chews properly. Try and simulate the action of his lips, jaws and tongue. All these procedures fall under oral motor treatment.
  1. Sensory stimulation is not suitable for all children. After the very first trial, don’t use the method if your child seems to be sore.

[ Read: Types Of Eating Disorders In Children ]

Though, there is not much you can do as a mark of prevention, you should take simple precautions. Help your little one pull through his difficult time. Do what you do best, love and care for him.

Did your little one ever suffer from dysphagia? How did you go about it? Tell us your story here. Fellow moms would love to hear from you.

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