What are the causes of dysphagia?

The causes of dysphagia

Oropharyngeal dysphagia can be caused by: 

  • Central neurological disorders such as stroke, brainstem tumours or degenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, MND, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease)
  • Peripheral neurological disorders including peripheral neuropathy, poliomyelitis and syphilis
  • Systemic disorders such as myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis or muscular dystrophy
  • Oropharyngeal lesions including cricopharyngeal achalasia, tumours, inflammatory masses, Zenker’s diverticulum, extrinsic structural lesions, cervical spondylosis etc.



Oesophageal dysphagia can be caused by:
  • Achalasia
  • Spastic motor disorders, such as diffuse oesophageal spasm, hypertensive lower oesophageal sphincter and nutcracker oesophagus
  • Scleroderma
  • Obstructive lesions, such as tumours, strictures, lower oesophageal rings (Schatzki rings), oesophageal webs, foreign bodies, vascular compression and mediastinal masses


Dysphagia due to diseases in mouth and tongue:
  • E.g. Oral candidiasis 

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