Having trouble with swallowing is a problem that is most common in elderly people, but it is still an issue that your child might experience. The medical term for this health concern is dysphagia.
Dysphagia in children can present as a long-term chronic condition but may also be a problem that develops suddenly and temporarily. Left untreated, dysphagia can have a serious impact on your child’s health and wellbeing.
Although any child could develop dysphagia, there are certain groups who are more at risk than others. Those include:
- Babies born prematurely
- Children with a cleft lip or cleft palate
- Children who have developmental delays
- Children who have gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Children with large tongues
- Children with large tonsils
- Children who have undergone a tracheotomy
Children who have been placed on a ventilator may also go on to develop problems with swallowing, as ventilation can lead to oral sensitivity and irritation of the vocal cords.
Even if your child is not in one of these at-risk groups, it is still possible that they might develop problems with their swallowing at any stage in their life.
Symptoms of Dysphagia in Children
If your child is still a baby, then it is important that you lookout for the signs of trouble swallowing. This is because it is obviously not possible for a baby to be able to communicate this issue to you.
If your baby stiffens when you are feeding them, then this could be an indication of dysphagia. You may also notice that the baby gags and that food comes out of the nostrils during or after feeding. A baby with swallowing problems is also likely to be irritable and disinterested during feeding times and may vomit often. This is why you should purchase baby food bibs with long sleeves that will leave your baby mess-free by the end, even if they just mess around with the food rather than eat it or vomit after eating.
Older children may experience the same problems but are more likely to be able to verbally express the symptoms to you. You should not always assume that this will be the case, though, and you must assess if your child can eat and drink properly.
If your child has difficulty swallowing, then it is essential that an effective treatment is sought as soon as possible. This is because nutrition is key during the formative years, and it is important that your child develops a healthy relationship with food.
After diagnosis, your doctor might suggest adding SimplyThick gel to liquids to better enable your child to swallow.
In certain cases, your child’s swallowing difficulties may be caused by a foreign object in the esophagus and will not have a medical cause. Simply removing the object should be enough to completely resolve the issue. It is not always possible to know if your child has swallowed a foreign object, but this problem can be quickly investigated and resolved.
Your Child’s Health
The health and wellbeing of your child will, of course, always be your top priority and is something that you will always want to give your attention to.
By being aware of different issues to look out for, you can ensure you are always in the know when it comes to your child’s health.