If you have symptoms of dysphagia or aspiration, you need to be checked right away. If you have a condition, such as stroke, that can cause trouble swallowing, you will need to be evaluated for dysphagia.
Diagnosis usually starts with a health history and evaluation. This is often done by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP may start by asking you about symptoms that might be related to dysphagia. He or she usually asks questions about the kinds of things that give you problems and about the timing of your symptoms.
The SLP will also look at your teeth, lips, jaw, tongue, and cheeks. You may need to move these areas in certain ways and make certain sounds. Your SLP may also check how you swallow different consistencies of liquids and foods. All of this is to help determine what phase of swallowing might be causing your problems. It can also give clues about the underlying cause for your dysphagia.
In some cases, you might need follow-up testing to find the source of your dysphagia. These tests can also help find the phase of swallowing that is causing the problems. These might include:
Modified barium swallow test (MBS) to show if material is traveling into your lungs.
Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) instead of MBS.
Pharyngeal manometry if the origin of the dysphagia is still in question, to check the pressure inside your esophagus.