Swallowing

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

Between 30 and 40 per cent of people with MS experience difficulties with swallowing at some time, though for some people changes are so small that they are hardly aware of them.

However long symptoms last, there are practical things that can help you manage the changes effectively.

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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