Being diagnosed with dysphagia can be a scary and overwhelming experience. No-one wants to be diagnosed with any sort of illness, and certainly not one that will mean altering your lifestyle. But before you get too caught up in the emotions of the diagnosis, it’s important to understand that there are treatment options, and they can make coping with dysphagia much easier.
Here’s a look at some of the more common treatment options that you may be prescribed after a dysphagia diagnosis.
Medication Can be the First Step
One of the first treatment options for dysphagia can be to use medication. Keep in mind that this will be dependent on the reason you have dysphagia, as it doesn’t work on all types.
Embrace Liquid Thickeners as Part of Your Diet
Part of one of the treatment options for dysphagia is to embrace liquid thickeners. These are thickening agents that can be added to a beverage to thicken it up a bit, making it easier and safer to swallow. The key is to find one that adds the right amount of thickness, is easy to use, and won’t alter the taste of your beverage. Those with dysphagia can check out Simply Thick as a liquid thickener option.
Make an Appointment with a Dietician
A liquid thickener is part of the dietary changes your doctor may prescribe. However, this won’t be the only thing you’ll need to change in your diet as it’s important to understand what foods you can have, what to stay away from, and how to prepare them so they are safe to swallow.
It’s quite common to be referred to a dietician as part of your treatment, as they can best discuss what kind of diet you should be on and give pointers on how thick/thin food items can be.
Feeding Tubes May be Necessary in More Extreme Cases
If you have a severe case of dysphagia and cannot swallow, it may be necessary to use a feeding tube. This can sometimes be used as a temporary treatment while you work on being able to swallow safely again.
Swallowing Therapy Can be On-Going
It’s also quite common for patients to start on a treatment plan of swallowing therapy. This is conducted by a speech and language therapist. These specialists not only help with speech problems, but they are also able to work with those who have swallowing and eating issues. This treatment option isn’t a one and done fix; it will be on-going with the hopes that you progress and improve.
Surgery May Even Be Necessary
Then there are certain forms of dysphagia that may need to be treated with surgery. Again, this is something your doctor will be able to discuss with you.
The important thing to keep in mind once you get a dysphagia diagnosis is that there are indeed treatment options, and a number of them. What that means is that there are ways to improve your condition and learn to cope.