Managing swallowing problems with thickeners
This post is going to talk about how thickeners can be used for managing swallowing problems, termed dysphagia. It will cover the basics of dysphagia and how to manage the disease with thickeners. It will also talk about the pros and cons of using a thickener. Finally, it will discuss the best and easiest thickener for managing swallowing problems.
1. What is dysphagia and what are the causes of dysphagia?
Dysphagia is defined simply as swallowing problems. In some cases, dysphagia is simply a result of an irritated or inflamed throat and will resolve on its own quickly. However, there are many other causes for this condition that can range from neurological impairment to cancer to stroke and more. Dysphagia is rarely a disease or a problem on its own. Rather, dysphagia is most often the result of another primary disease.
The symptoms of dysphagia can vary, but may be expressed as:
Difficulty swallowing liquids
A feeling that liquids dribble into the throat or simply won't go down
Difficulty swallowing solids – may be able to eat only soft foods, like mashed potatoes
The feeling that solid food is stuck in the throat.
Regardless of the cause, if you are having trouble swallowing, you should consult a medical professional. Your doctor is a good place to start. They will often refer you to a swallowing expert called a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). The SLP will evaluate your specific issues and come up with a management and treatment plan that's just right for you.
2. What are the benefits of using thickeners to manage a swallowing problem?
Many times, a thickener is used to manage swallowing problems. Especially when managing your liquids. Thickeners can help slow the liquid in your mouth and will allow you better control as you prepare to swallow.
Thickeners are a simple, cost-effective, and easy way to manage dysphagia. Although they are not a treatment, they will allow you to continue to take liquids into your body through your mouth and stay hydrated. Often swallowing problems will resolve with time and/or therapy, so the use of a thickener may be temporary.
3. What are the downsides of using thickeners to manage a swallowing problem?
Some individuals simply don't like the feeling of thick liquids in their mouths. They find it too difficult to swallow and may give up on drinking anything at all. It's important that you tell your doctor or SLP if this is how you feel because they will need to find/determine other strategies to ensure that you remain well-hydrated.
In addition, in some rare cases, there are some reports of problems with the digestive system. This may show up as either constipation or loose stools. If you experience either of these, let your doctor or SLP know.
If the thickener you use is a powder, it may be messy and a bit difficult to get it to dissolve. You may find that it takes a long time to reach the proper thickness. And you may have difficulty with powder lumps that are very difficult and time-consuming to disintegrate.
4. How can SimplyThick® brand thickener be used to help with swallowing difficulties?
SimplyThick® brand is the only thickener in a liquid form already. This simply means that it will thicken liquids very rapidly and without lumps. It is the easiest and fastest thickener on the market. It is so easy to use that you can mix it with a teaspoon and have beverages ready to drink in about 1 minute.
It's made from no animal products, does not contain gluten or wheat, and won't change the taste, smell, or appearance of the beverage that you thicken.
SimplyThick® brand thickener is designed to comply with the thickness standards of the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI).
SimplyThick comes in a variety of sizes and packaging options to best fit your specific thickness needs and lifestyle.
5. Who should use SimplyThick® brand?
People with swallowing problems can be helped by thickening liquids, and people who simply want to drink their beverages without having lumps. The SimplyThick® brand is perfect for home users and institutions with the highest standards of care for their residents.
6. Where can I find SimplyThick® brand products?
7. Where to find out more?