Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) means it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Difficulty swallowing may also be associated with pain. In some cases, you may not be able to swallow at all.

Occasional difficulty swallowing usually isn't cause for concern, and may simply occur when you eat too fast or don't chew your food well enough. But persistent difficulty swallowing may indicate a serious medical condition requiring treatment.

Difficulty swallowing can occur at any age, but it's more common in older adults. The causes of swallowing problems vary, and treatment depends on the cause.

Oct. 21, 2011