There are two distinct types of dysphagia, a swallowing disorder that refers to difficulty moving food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Each stems from different conditions, and each is diagnosed and treated differently. Duke specialists are experts in diagnosing the type and cause of your dysphagia. They offer a range of treatments to alleviate your discomfort and help you eat and drink without distress.

Call for an Appointment

Esophageal Dysphagia

Esophageal dysphagia typically results from a motility disorder or a physical obstruction that prevents food and drink from passing easily through the esophagus. Motility disorders and obstructions that lead to esophageal dysphagia include:

  • A narrowing of the esophagus (strictures)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
  • Achalasia or other motility disorders such as Jackhammer esophagus
  • A benign or cancerous growth or blockage
  • Zenker’s diverticulum

Learn About Esophageal Dysphagia 
We use a variety of tests to diagnose esophageal dysphagia. It can often be alleviated with minimally invasive surgical or endoscopic procedures.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is more likely to occur in older adults and is often linked to radiation following radiation treatment for cancer, a neurological condition, or a muscular disorder including:

Learn About Oropharyngeal Dysphagia
This type of dysphagia benefits from therapy provided by speech pathologists. They create a personalized program of rehabilitative swallowing exercises to help prevent choking and gagging and create a safer environment for swallowing.

This page was medically reviewed on 10/14/2022 by