Swallowing

  • Woman with MS holding a drink as she chats with friends at an MS Society social

At least one in three people with MS sometimes have difficulties with swallowing. These changes might be so small that you hardly notice them.

No matter how noticeable these changes are, or how long they last, some practical things can help you manage them.

Find out about swallowing problems.

MS can cause swallowing difficulties if there is damage to any part of the brain that controls swallowing, or damage to the connections between the brain and the spinal cord (the ‘brainstem’).

Just like any other symptom of MS, swallowing difficulties may come and go.

Temporary changes in swallowing can happen during a relapse and improve, or disappear completely, over time. For others, swallowing can become more difficult in the long term.

Read more about swallowing problems.

Support group drinking tea and chatting

Finding the causes of difficulties and factors which make problems worse can help find the best ways to manage your difficulties.

There are various self-help tips, like good posture, chewing well and eating in a relaxed atmosphere. A speech therapist can also help out.

Find out more about managing swallowing problems.

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