Friday, March 9, 2007

Dystonia, botulinum toxin, dysphagia and xerostomia

What do they have in common? Well now. To be concise, possible reactions in a minority of patients following treatment for dystonia, a neurological disease!

In greater detail, dystonia symptoms in its many forms respond well to botulinum toxin, otherwise known as botox, for the majority of sufferers. However, one of the complications associated with botox therapy for some forms of dystonia is dysphagia, difficulty with swallowing. Some people may also experience xerostomia, dry mouth syndrome.

Dysphagia (reputable link but 19 pages) and or xerostomia do require monitoring for two important reasons. Firstly, ensuring patients remain safe and comfortable during the swallowing process. Secondly, ensuring your mouth remains moist enough for oral comfort and a good level of health.

The links in this article provide good information about relieving the symptoms of dysphagia and also xerostomia. If you experience any of these symptoms please, discuss this with your family doctor, treating specialist or speech pathologist.

There are excellent pharmaceutical products available to provide relief for both the above mentioned medical conditions. Alternatively, thickening sauce or gravy based foods such as casseroles and stews will be helpful for people with dysphagia. Drinking thick shakes or fruit smoothies offers variety and change from thickening drinks.

In reference to relief for dry mouth syndrome, an alternative to pharmaceutical products is a good, economical home remedy for relief of xerostomia. This is, one part peppermint essence to six parts grapeseed oil (both available in supermarket). Coat the inside of your mouth and tongue with either cotton buds/tips or throat swabs dipped in the solution as required. I have used this remedy on recommendation of a speech pathologist and find it is reliable, comfortable and inexpensive.

Always discuss your specific needs with the appropriate person from your treating team prior to changing what you are currently doing. Also, discuss the above suggested home remedy with your treatment team before commencing this yourself.

Please, leave a comment if you would like to or contact me on my email address below. I will get back to you.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia. (Additional cyclone link included here)

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