Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is and what’s causing your child’s dysphagia.
Infection or an object in the esophagus
If your child’s swallowing issues start suddenly, your child may have something stuck in their esophagus. If your child has trouble swallowing and a fever, it may be from an infection. These can both be emergencies. They need to be treated right away.
If your child has chronic dysphagia or dysphagia caused by a health condition, speech or occupational therapy may help. Your child will learn exercises and feeding techniques to swallow better.
Your child may be able to swallow thick fluids and soft foods better than thin liquids. Your child’s healthcare provider may suggest giving baby foods or pureed foods. Some babies who had trouble swallowing formula or breastmilk do better when they’re old enough to eat baby foods.
Dysphagia with GERD
If your child also has GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), treatment for this condition may help your child swallow better. When your child’s esophagus and throat aren’t as irritated by acid reflux, they may work better. GERD may be treated with feeding changes or medicine.
If your child is diagnosed with this allergic inflammatory condition, a particular elimination diet is often advised for treatment. Medicines may also help.
Children who have scarring or narrowing of the esophagus may need a test. In this procedure, your child’s healthcare provider may widen (dilate) their esophagus. Your child will need to be under anesthesia for this. Your child may need to have this procedure repeated.