Throat, Voice & Swallowing Disorders

Throat, Voice & Swallowing Disorders

Problems with the throat and voice are uncomfortable and even incapacitating. Our physicians diagnose and treat a range of throat:

Trouble Swallowing

Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, can have a variety of causes. The issue may be due to a blockage in the throat, pharynx, or esophagus, or to a narrowing of the esophagus. There could be a problem with the nerves or muscles in the pharynx. The swallowing reflex can also be impacted by conditions affecting the brain or nervous system, such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease. Anxiety and panic attacks may also cause a sensation of tightness, or a “lump in the throat.”


Hoarseness is a general term used for abnormal voice changes. Your voice may suddenly sound weaker, lower, more raspy, breathy, or strained. The cause could be as simple as overuse. You could have benign growths on your vocal cords. Smoking, allergies, and acid reflux are also common causes of hoarseness.

Sleep Apnea

In this potentially serious sleep disorder, breathing stops and starts during sleep. There are several forms of sleep apnea but the most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the throat muscles relax and block your airway during sleep. Snoring and daytime tiredness are common symptoms. Sleep apnea is more common in men. Risk factors include age and obesity. Treatment may include the use of a mouthpiece help keep the airway open or a device called a Cpap machine, which sends oxygen through your airways while you sleep. Surgery can sometimes be an option.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back up from the stomach into the esophagus and throat. Most of us experience “heartburn” from time to time. In GERD, this happens at least twice a week and sometimes, daily. GERD can eventually cause difficulty swallowing and damage to the esophagus and lead to a precancerous condition known as Barret’s esophagus.