Friday, April 25, 2014

Swallowing pain or burning

Table of Contents

Definition

Swallowing pain refers to pain while swallowing, which may be felt high in the neck or lower down behind the breastbone. It is most often a strong feeling of uncomfortable squeezing and burning, and may be a symptom of a serious disorder.

See also: Swallowing difficulty


Alternative Names

Swallowing - pain or burning; Odynophagia; Burning feeling when swallowing


Considerations

Swallowing is a complex act that involves the mouth, throat area, and esophagus (the muscular tube that moves food to the stomach). Many nerves and muscles control how these body parts work. Part of the act of swallowing is under voluntary control, which means you are aware of controlling the action. However, much of swallowing is involuntary.

Problems at any point -- from chewing food and moving it into the back of the mouth to moving the food into the stomach -- can result in difficulty swallowing.

Chest pain, the feeling of food stuck in the throat, or heaviness or pressure in the neck or upper chest while eating are often the result of swallowing difficulties.


Common Causes
  • Infection
    • Cytomegalovirus
    • Gum disease (gingivitis)
    • Herpes simplex virus
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Pharyngitis (sore throat usually due to infection)
    • Thrush (a fungal infection caused by Candida)
    • Tooth infection or abscess
  • Mouth or throat ulcers
  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Something stuck in the throat (for example, fish or chicken bones)
  • Problems with the esophagus (listed below) may cause difficulty swallowing:
    • Achalasia
    • Esophageal spasms
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • Nutcracker esophagus


Review Date: 10/20/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)