ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Be Prepared to Answer Questions and to Ask Questions During Your Dysphagia Appointment

We experience difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, at one point or another, usually when we attempt to swallow large food or when we eat too quickly. When dysphagia happens occasionally, there’s no cause for concern as it’s quite normal. But if you experience persistent dysphagia, you should see your ENT doctor as soon as possible.


Your persistent difficulty may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. This is particularly true if it’s associated with discomfort or pain, perhaps extreme difficulty in swallowing that makes it impossible.


But before getting to your doctor’s clinic for your appointment, you may want to prepare a list of questions and be ready to answer questions from your ENT doctor. The exchange of questions and answers will contribute to a better appointment.


List Down Your Questions

On the phone while setting your appointment, you should ask about pre-appointment restrictions necessary for diagnostic exams. You may have to restrict your diet, for example. You should also list down your symptoms – what they are, when they started and how they are manifested – as well as your medications, drugs and supplements.


You should also write certain key personal information that may have affected your ability to swallow. These can include surgery, medications and major life changes and stressful events.


And don’t forget to list down a few basic questions. You don’t want to forget a question in the clinic and remember it when you’re already at home.

  • What are the possible causes of my swallowing difficulty?
  • Why are these risk factors in my case?
  • What are the medical tests that I have to undergo?
  • What are the possible medical interventions for my condition?
  • What are the ways I can manage dysphagia with my other health conditions?
  • What do I have to do in terms of lifestyle habits?
  • What other resources can I refer to about dysphagia?


Don’t hesitate asking these questions as you are well within your rights to do so. Just be courteous so you can get the answers you’re seeking for.


Anticipate Your Doctor’s Questions

The appointment is, of course, a two-way street. Your doctor will also ask questions intended to determine the possible causes of your dysphagia and their corresponding treatments.


The questions your doctor will likely ask and for which you should ideally have ready answers are:

  • When did your symptoms start?
  • Were your symptoms occasional or continuous, chronic or acute, tolerable or painful?
  • What things appear to alleviate or worsen your symptoms? (You may have a more difficult time swallowing some food, for example, than others)
  • What other symptoms aside from difficulty swallowing have you experienced? (You may regurgitate food, or vomit after eating or drinking, or bring up black bile-like material or blood)
  • Have you been unintentionally losing weight?


The back-and-forth exchange will eventually narrow down the possible causes of your difficulty in swallowing. Be honest in your answers even when it seems embarrassing – your ENT doctor has probably heard and seen it all in his line of work.


If you have been experiencing symptoms such as voice changes, constant coughing, pain when swallowing, ear pain and sore throat that has not disappeared for more than two weeks, get yourself checked by a qualified ENT doctor. It could be nothing but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.




HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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