3. Esophageal Dysmotility

Between the stomach and pharynx in the throat is the esophagus, a long fibromuscular tube that not only enables swallowing but also prevents gastric reflux. CREST syndrome causes atrophy of the gastrointestinal tract’s smooth muscle, which affects esophagus motility or its ability to move food. Esophageal dysmotility causes chest pain, coughing, or food caught in the esophagus. Many people with esophageal dysmotility find they must drink liquids while eating to ensure solid food makes it to their stomachs. This can also lead to more frequent acid reflux, heartburn, and inflammation.

throat esophagus difficulty swallowing andriano_cz / Getty Images

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