A physical exam combined with further testing may be required to identify the underlying cause of your swallowing problem.


Your physician will begin by performing a physical exam and discussing your symptoms and history. During the assessment, your physician will want to know the following:

  • How long you’ve had symptoms
  • Whether your symptoms come and go or are getting worse
  • Whether you’re having trouble swallowing solids, liquids, or both
  • Whether you've lost weight

While the physical exam and symptom assessment may be enough to reach an initial diagnosis of dysphagia, further testing is required to identify the underlying cause of your swallowing problem.

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Woman explains throat pain to male doctor.


Swallowing is a complex process that may be disrupted by any number of different conditions. Because dysphagia has so many potential causes, your doctor may use a variety of different tests to determine the cause of your swallowing symptoms.


In a swallowing study, your physician will have you swallow barium-coated foods of various consistencies. The barium coating makes the foods visible on an x-ray as you chew and swallow. Your physician can watch the food as it moves from your mouth and esophagus into your stomach, identifying any issues that may be interfering with your swallowing process.


Esophageal manometry is a test that measures pressure inside your esophagus to determine whether it’s working properly. During the procedure, a catheter with pressure sensors is inserted through your nose down your esophagus and into your stomach. The sensors measure the rhythmic muscle contractions that occur inside your esophagus when you chew and swallow. This provides diagnostic information about the movement (motility) of food through your esophagus. 


An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is an endoscopy of your upper gastrointestinal tract. In an EGD procedure, your physician passes an endoscope (a flexible tube with a small camera attached to the end) down the length of your esophagus to diagnose symptoms in your upper GI tract. An EGD is typically performed under sedation.


In many cases, an EGD alone is not enough to diagnose dysphagia. As many as 78% of endoscopies performed on patients with esophageal symptoms are inconclusive.The Endoflip™ impedance planimetry system simplifies your path to diagnosis when you are struggling with problems swallowing. Endoflip is a minimally-invasive endoscopic tool that helps identify motility disorders by providing real-time pressure and dimension measurements in the esophagus.

Endoflip provides additional data that helps physicians better diagnose motility disorders. Endoflip can be administered during an EGD, allowing both tests to be completed at once. This eliminates excessive testing, reduces the need for repeat visits, and lowers risk by avoiding subsequent sedation.

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Information and resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor. Always discuss diagnosis and treatment information including risks with your doctor. Keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary.


Lambert R. Digestive endoscopy: Relevance of negative findings. Italian journal of gastroenterology and hepatology. 1999;31(8):761-72