Myth: Difficulty in Swallowing Is All in My Head

Difficulty in swallowing, technically known as dysphagia, may have a variety of causes. One cause of this often frightening problem involves conditions associated with the nerves and muscles of your throat that prevent a coordinated transfer of food from the throat to the esophagus.

Another type of swallowing difficulty results from an abnormal esophagus that fails to push food down into the stomach. The abnormality may be an obstruction to the downward flow, or may involve abnormal functioning of the muscles. Stress does not cause dysphagia, but may worsen it, especially when the functioning of the nerves and muscles is involved.