How to Cope with Dysphagia: A Beginner’s Guide

Dysphagia is an umbrella term for people living with swallowing difficulties. For example, they might cough or choke when eating and drinking, regurgitate food, experience persistent drooling, feel as if food is stuck in their throat or chest, or struggle to chew food properly.

As a result, people living with dysphagia might experience weight loss or repeated chest infections. Plus, the uncomfortable sensations can take a toll on their mental health.

If you have recently been diagnosed with dysphagia, you might want to adopt tactics that can ease your swallowing difficulties. Keep reading to learn how to cope with dysphagia.

Change the Consistency of Your Food

A doctor may recommend avoiding certain foods, or you may need to make alterations to some dishes. For instance, they might suggest pureeing your food to make it easier to swallow.

Also, it might help if you thicken liquids, as it can slow the flow and provide greater control of the liquids in your mouth. As a result, it can reduce liquid entering your airways and making its way down the wrong pipe.

There are some fantastic thickeners on the market. SimplyThick is a great choice, as its thickener has been clinically tested on dysphagia patients and can help people living with a swallowing disorder to drink more liquids.

Improve Your Posture

Monitor your posture when eating or drinking to support swallowing. You must sit in an upright position with your back straight and try to focus on your food or drink. It might help to switch off the TV or put down your device and place a pillow against your back for support. Also, it will help to sit in an upright position for a minimum of 30 minutes after a meal, which can lower the risk of aspiration.

Attend Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy could help you adopt new swallowing techniques, which could ease any discomfort or pain. A speech therapist can help you embrace various exercises that can coordinate your swallowing muscles. Plus, it could help to restimulate the nerves that will trigger your swallowing reflex.

Don’t Skip Swallowing Exercises

After attending speech therapy, you must continue with your exercises at home to improve your symptoms. Even if you have a busy lifestyle, you must complete the exercises each day to alleviate any pain and discomfort when swallowing. However, you must not change your recommended food or liquids without talking to your doctor, even if the exercises are helping. If your swallowing improves, you may be able to adjust your diet in time.


If you follow the above tactics, you could ease your swallowing difficulties and enjoy a varied diet in the future without pain or discomfort. However, if the above dysphagia tips don’t work, you may need to undergo surgery to widen your esophagus, which will require the insertion of a stent. Also, you must ensure you never avoid food and drink due to fear of choking or discomfort, as this can lead to dehydration and malnutrition.