Path to Dysphagia Diagnosis
  • Carinda Stout, MS CCC/SLP

Odynophagia: A Deeper Look

Odynophagia is the medical term for painful swallowing.


Pain can be felt in your mouth, throat, or esophagus and painful swallowing may occur when drinking or eating food. Sometimes swallowing difficulties (known as dysphagia) can accompany the pain, but odynophagia is often a condition of its own.


Pain can be felt in your mouth, throat, or esophagus and painful swallowing may occur when drinking or eating food

Odynophagia vs Dysphagia


Sometimes odynophagia is confused with dysphagia, which is another condition that has to do with swallowing. Dysphagia refers to difficulty swallowing. With this condition, swallowing difficulties occur on a regular basis. Dysphagia is also most common in older adults.





Like odynophagia, dysphagia is linked to a variety of causes. The precise treatment depends on the underlying health problem. Dysphagia can be so severe that you may not be able to swallow at all.

Dysphagia and odynophagia may occur at the same time. They can also have the same underlying causes. However, swallowing difficulties can occur without any pain. Alternatively, odynophagia can cause pain without swallowing troubles.