BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPainful swallowingSwallowing - pain or burning; Odynophagia; Burning feeling when swallowingPainful swallowing is any pain or discomfort while swallowing. You may feel it high in the neck or lower down behind the breastbone. Most often, the pain feels like a strong sensation of squeezing or burning. Painful swallowing may be a symptom of a serious disorder. Considerations Swallowing involves many nerves and muscles in the mouth, throat area, and food pipe (esophagus). Part of swallowing is voluntary. This means you are aware of controlling the action. However, much of swallowing is involuntary.No audio descriptionWith audio descriptionRelated video goes here for no-HTML5 browsersRelated video goes here for no-HTML5 browsersProblems at any point in the swallowing process (including chewing, moving food to the back of the mouth, or moving it to the stomach) can result in painful swallowing.Swallowing problems can cause symptoms such as:Chest pain Chest painChest pain is discomfort or pain that you feel anywhere along the front of your body between your neck and upper abdomen.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Feeling of food stuck in the throat Heaviness or pressure in the neck or upper chest while eating Causes Swallowing problems may be due to infections, such as:Cytomegalovirus Gum disease (gingivitis) GingivitisGingivitis is inflammation of the gums.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Herpes simplex virus Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Pharyngitis (sore throat) PharyngitisPharyngitis, or sore throat, is discomfort, pain, or scratchiness in the throat. It often makes it painful to swallow.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article ThrushThrushThrush is a yeast infection of the tongue and lining of the mouth.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Swallowing problems may be due to a problem with the esophagus, such as:Achalasia AchalasiaThe tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach is the esophagus or food pipe. Achalasia makes it harder for the esophagus to move food int...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Esophageal spasms Esophageal spasmsEsophageal spasms are abnormal contractions of the muscles in the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. These spasms ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gastroesophageal reflux disease Gastroesophageal reflux diseaseGastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents leak backward from the stomach into the esophagus (food pipe). F...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Inflammation of the esophagus Inflammation of the esophagusEsophagitis is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus becomes swollen, inflamed, or irritated. The esophagus is the tube that leads from y...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Nutcracker esophagus Nutcracker esophagusAn esophageal perforation is a hole in the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube food passes through as it goes from the mouth to the stomach....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Ulcer in the esophagus, especially due to tetracyclines (antibiotic), aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxyn Other causes of swallowing problems include:Mouth or throat ulcers Something stuck in the throat (for example, fish or chicken bones) Tooth infection or abscess Home Care Some tips that may help you to ease swallowing pain at home include:Eat slowly and chew your food well. Eat pureed foods or liquids if solid foods are hard to swallow. Avoid very cold or very hot foods if they make your symptoms worse.If someone is choking, immediately perform the Heimlich maneuver.Heimlich maneuver Choking is when someone is having a very hard time breathing because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway). A cho...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article When to Contact a Medical Professional Contact your health care provider if you have painful swallowing and:Blood in your stools or your stools appear black or tarry Shortness of breath or lightheadedness Weight loss Tell your provider about any other symptoms that occur with the painful swallowing, including:Abdominal pain Chills Cough Fever Heartburn Nausea or vomiting Sour taste in the mouth Wheezing What to Expect at Your Office Visit Your provider will examine you and ask about your medical history and symptoms, including:Do you have pain when swallowing solids, liquids, or both? Is the pain constant or does it come and go? Is the pain getting worse? Do you have difficulty swallowing? Do you have a sore throat? Does it feel like there is a lump in your throat? Have you inhaled or swallowed any irritating substances? What other symptoms do you have? What other health problems do you have? What medicines do you take? The following tests may be done:Endoscopy with biopsy EndoscopyEndoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera and light on the end of it. This instrument is called an...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article BiopsyA biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue for laboratory examination.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Barium swallow and upper GI series Barium swallowAn upper GI and small bowel series is a set of x-rays taken to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Barium enema is a related test th...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Chest x-ray Chest x-rayA chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Esophageal pH monitoring (measures acid in the esophagus) Esophageal pH monitoringEsophageal pH monitoring is a test that measures how often stomach acid enters the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach (called the esophagu...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Esophageal manometry (measures pressure in the esophagus) Esophageal manometryEsophageal manometry is a test to measure how well the esophagus is working.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) EsophagogastroduodenoscopyEsophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a test to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine (the duodenum)....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article HIV testing Neck x-ray Throat culture Open ReferencesReferencesAllen CT, Nussenbaum B, Merati AL. Acute and chronic laryngopharyngitis. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 61.DeVault KR. Symptoms of esophageal disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 13.Pandolfino JE, Kahrilas PJ. Esophageal neuromuscular function and motility disorders. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 44.Wilcox CM. Gastrointestinal consequences of infection with human immunodeficiency virus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 35.AllVideoImagesTogThroat anatomy - illustration Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.Throat anatomyillustrationThroat anatomy - illustration Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.Throat anatomyillustrationRelated Information Review Date: 7/1/2021 Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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