Another term for swallowing difficulties is dysphagia. Dysphagia can occur at any point through a babies or child’s development. The severity of dysphagia can vary between babies and children.
Some have problems swallowing some fluids and textures whilst others cannot swallow at all. Signs of dysphagia include coughing whilst eating or drinking, bringing food back up, sometimes through the nose, and persistent drooling of saliva. Over time dysphagia can also cause weight loss and repeated chest infections. Dysphagia is usually caused by another condition such as a developmental or learning disability. Our multidisciplinary team of professionals at Kids Feeding Team are able to help babies and children with swallowing problems, including:
Structural dysphagia occurs when there is any swallowing difficulties caused by a problem in the structure of the muscles and nerves used to swallow. Structural abnormalities can occur in the oral cavity (mouth), the pharynx (throat) and the oesophagus (food pipe).
If there is a problem with the movement of the muscles used to swallow, this can be called mechanical dysphagia. Movement difficulties mainly occur in voluntary movements that are but can sometimes occur during involuntary movements in the mouth and throat.
Neurological dysphagia occurs when there is any swallowing difficulties caused by a pre-existing neurological condition. Neurological conditions can cause a variety of different swallowing difficulties, depending on the part of the brain affected.
Functional dysphagia occurs when there is a sensation of foods and liquids sticking, lodging or passing abnormally through the oesophagus (windpipe). The term functional dysphagia is used when people have this experience but no organic cause for dysphagia can be found.
If your child is presenting with any type of swallowing difficulties, we can help. Our multidisciplinary team of dietitians and speech and language therapists can assess, diagnose and treat your baby or child ensuring that they have a safe and effective swallow. We understand you may have been to many healthcare appointments regarding your baby or child’s symptoms and have not yet received a diagnosis for your child, but our team will be able to help you with this. To book an appointment please contact us.