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Mid Coast Hospital
Speech Therapy for Dysphagia

What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is the inability to swallow in a safe, effective, and timely manner. People usually experience dysphagia when the muscle system involved in swallowing is weakened.

Dysphagia can appear suddenly or develop slowly. When it evolves slowly, there is a risk its of being accepted or adapted to as one’s condition worsens.

Evaluation and Treatment Plan

Your speech pathologist will talk with you about your medical history and symptoms. He or she will then perform a swallowing evaluation and provide appropriate treatment. Your comprehensive assessment may include:

  • Examination of strength and movement of the lips, tongue, jaw, and palate.
  • A challenge tray of various food textures and liquid consistencies.
  • A Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS), which is a state-of-the-art radiographic (x-ray) procedure conducted by a speech pathologist and a radiologist.

Management of Dysphagia

A number of treatment options are available for managing dysphagia. The right approach varies with each individual and the stage/phase of the condition. Some of the options are:

  • Adaptive equipment
  • Deep pharyngeal neurological stimulation – an intense stimulation program of the oral-pharyngeal muscles
  • Environmental and behavioral adjustments
  • Muscle strengthening of the oral/pharyngeal muscles
  • Patient and family education
  • Posture changes
  • Prescribed food and liquid consistencies
  • Thermostimulation – a technique to trigger the automatic swallowing reflex


For more information about us please call 373-6175.


Speech Therapy for Dysphagia

Common Causes of Dysphagia:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • ALS Disease
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Dementia

Symptoms of Dysphagia:

  • An inability to clear the mouth of food
  • An inability to start the swallowing process
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Coughing, gagging, or choking
  • A feeling of fullness or something “stuck” in the throat
  • Pneumonia or history of pneumonia
  • Weight loss or dehydration resulting from lack of eating and drinking due to fear of choking