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Odynophagia - Painful swallowing

Odynophagia is the sensation of painful swallowing, it can at times be associated with the feeling of difficulty swallowing (not painful- dysphagia). Pain may be focused in the mouth or upper part of the throat or lower down.

Several conditions can lead to the development of odynophagia. These include oesophageal infections, such as cytomegalovirus, herpes oesophagitis or oesophageal candidiasis or mucosal inflammation, commonly in response to acid exposure (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), or exposure to other chemicals such as drugs or poisons.

Oesophageal dysmotility disorders such as achalasia may cause pain, either because of the high pressures in the oesophagus that trigger the oesophageal distension and pain receptors or because it is often associated with oesophageal  or laryngopharyngeal hypersensitivity. Disease of the mouth and oral cavity such as mouth ulcers and tonsillitis may also cause painful swallowing, these normally fall under the realm of maxilla-facial or ear nose and throat specialists.

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