Most swallowing problems can be managed, although the treatment you receive will depend on the type of dysphagia you have. Treatment will depend on whether your swallowing problem is in the mouth or throat (oropharyngeal dysphagia), or in the esophagus (oesophageal dysphagia). Oropharyngeal dysphagia can be difficult to treat if it's caused by a condition that affects the nervous system. This is because these problems can't usually be corrected using medication or surgery. You may be referred to a speech and language therapist (SLT) for swallowing therapy. An SLT is trained to work with people with eating or swallowing difficulties. SLTs use a range of techniques that can be tailored for your specific problem, such as teaching you swallowing exercises. An SLT can give you advice about softer foods and thickened fluids that you may find easier to swallow. They may also try to ensure you're getting the support you need at meal times. Nasogastric tubes are designed for short-term use. The tube will need to be replaced and swapped to the other nostril after about a month. PEG tubes are designed for long-term use and last several months before they need replacing. Most people with dysphagia prefer to use a PEG tube because it can be hidden under clothing. However, they carry a greater risk of minor complications, such as skin infection or blocked tube, compared to nasogastric tubes. Two major complications of PEG tubes are infection and internal bleeding. You can discuss the pros and cons of both types of feeding tubes with your treatment team.
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