Difficult to Swallow
Free Symptom Checker
with Physician-supervised AI

Reviewed By:

Bret Mobley, MD, MS

Bret Mobley, MD, MS (Neuropathology)

Dr. Mobley graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, completing a masters degree in neuroscience between his second and third years of medical school. He trained as a resident in pathology at Stanford University Hospital before joining the faculty of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville Tennessee in 2010. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018 and to Neuropathology Division Director in 2020.

Shohei Harase, MD

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Food / water doesn't go down the throat easily

  • Water doesn't go down the throat

  • It is hard to swallow food / water

  • Fluids can't go down the throat

  • Difficulty swallowing solid food

  • Difficulty drinking down water

  • Difficulty swallowing fluids

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

About the symptom

Difficulty swallowing can be caused by brain conditions or throat disorders such as reflux.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Hard to swallow food or water

Possible causes

  • Diabetic neuropathy

    Diabetic neuropathy is a kind of nerve damage that can happen in people with long-term diabetes. High blood sugar can harm nerves all over the body, mainly in the legs and feet.

  • Acute tonsillitis / pharyngitis

    Infection of the tonsils and pharynx (back of the mouth), either by viruses or bacteria.

  • Gastritis

    A condition where the stomach's surface lining is damaged, causing abdominal pain and discomfort. Causes include stress, overeating, excessive alcohol intake, and infection with the H. pylori bacteria.

  • Aerophagia
  • Sinusitis
  • Progressive subcortical vascular encephalopathy

Related serious diseases

  • Bronchial asthma

    A condition where the airways are highly sensitive and overreact to foreign substances or environmental changes. The underlying cause is unclear but involves genetics. Many triggers for asthma flares include smoke, pollen, dust mite droppings, cold weather, exercise, and viral infections.

  • Dehydration
  • Cerebral infarction

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you have difficulty swallowing (e.g food or water)?

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do you have a sore throat?

  • Do you have heartburn?

  • Do you have slurred speech?

Other Related Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

Reviewed By:

Bret Mobley, MD, MS

Bret Mobley, MD, MS (Neuropathology)

Dr. Mobley graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, completing a masters degree in neuroscience between his second and third years of medical school. He trained as a resident in pathology at Stanford University Hospital before joining the faculty of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville Tennessee in 2010. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018 and to Neuropathology Division Director in 2020.

Shohei Harase, MD

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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