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HealthInfo Canterbury

Swallowing difficulties

If you have trouble swallowing, it is painful to swallow, or you feel that food or drink get stuck when you swallow, it's important to see your GP straight away to find out what's causing it. Your GP will usually refer you to a specialist to sort out the cause, as it may be caused by a serious problem. The medical term for swallowing problems is dysphagia.

If you know what's making it difficult to swallow – for example Parkinson disease, the effects of stroke, or dementia – there are several things you or the person caring for you can do to help. The information on these pages provides general tips and advice. For specific advice, talk to your GP or speech-language therapist.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2016. Last updated January 2019.

See also:

Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight, for older adults

In this section

Dietary suggestions for swallowing difficulties

Easy eating with cognitive problems

Mouth care

Safe eating & drinking

Taking medicines when swallowing is difficult

Safe eating & drinking with facial weakness or numbness

Video swallow studies

Page reference: 121957

Review key: HISWD-121957