Common swallowing disorders include esophageal dysphagia and oropharyngeal dysphagia, according to Mayo Clinic. Esophageal dysphagia refers to the feeling of food getting stuck in the chest or the throat's base after attempting to swallow. Oropharyngeal dysphagia refers to the weakening of throat muscles that leads to difficulty moving food to the throat from the mouth.
Causes of esophageal dysphagia include achalasia, a condition that occurs when the lower esophageal muscle fails to relax enough to allow food to pass to the stomach, explains Mayo Clinic. The condition may cause food to return back up into the throat. Foreign bodies, radiation therapy, esophageal tumors, a diffuse spasm or gastroesophageal reflux disease may also cause esophageal dysphagia.
Neurological disorders, neurological damage and cancer cause oropharyngeal dysphagia, reports Mayo Clinic. Apharyngeal diverticula, a condition that causes a small pouch to form in the throat and gather food particles, also causes oropharyngeal dysphagia.
Symptoms and signs of a swallowing disorder include coughing during the night or after drinking and eating, notes the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating, weight loss or dehydration, and gurgling or wet noises made during or after eating are additional symptoms. A swallowing disorder impacts different stages of the swallowing process, including the oral, pharyngeal and esophageal phases.