Dysphagia is a condition that affects swallowing. It causes pain while swallowing food and drink and a whole host of other consequential symptoms too. It is extremely difficult to live with and manage, but there are ways to make life easier and ease the suffering. You will have to adapt your lifestyle in general, especially if the dysphagia is sticking around instead of coming in intermittent episodes. Read on for some top tips for managing dysphagia.
Thickeners like the renowned brand SimplyThick are arguably one of the most valuable assets for dysphagia patients. They act to thicken drinks and similar products so that they are taken on more slowly and easier to process within your body. There is actually a good range of flavors and varieties out there to try, so don’t feel like you have to make compromises when it comes to your favorite tastes and textures. It might be an adjustment, but it will be one that makes life easier. Therefore, it’s an adjustment worth investing in.
Get to Know What Triggers You
For some dysphagia sufferers, there are bound to be certain triggers that make symptoms feel worse. When you learn what they are, you are better able to avoid them and therefore reduce your suffering. Try following the steps below and see if it helps you manage your struggles more easily.
- Keep a food diary for eight weeks.
- Write down every meal and every drink you have throughout the day including times and quantities.
- Keep track of every symptom that you have after eating certain foods and drinking certain beverages.
- Cross-reference this after each week to see where you are worse and where you are less affected.
By doing this, you give yourself the tools to manage your diet and health condition as well. Dysphagia is not fun, but there are foods, such as chili and other spices found in curries or stir frys, that will undoubtedly exacerbate things. The same can be said of coffee and fizzy drinks too.
Rule Out the Serious Causes
If you are finding any dysphagia symptoms that just won’t go away, it is definitely worth a visit to your doctor. A healthcare professional is best equipped to give you the optimal course of action for feeling better and finding a resolution. There might be something more serious such as throat cancer underlying your condition which will require an entirely different route to be taken. However, most of the time dysphagia comes from less severe conditions such as GERD or scarring.
Eat Smaller Meals
If you are struggling after big meals, it is good to cut down on what you’re eating as long as it is done in a safe way. This could be the actual food that you’re eating, by eating smaller cubed pieces instead of larger chunks. It could also be cooking less and having smaller meals throughout the day so that you’re not digesting too much in one single sitting.
Dysphagia is sometimes a life-long condition and other times not. Wherever you land, the symptoms need managing and you should take action to make life easier by doing just that.