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Zenker's Diverticulum Causes & Symptoms


Malfunctioning of the cricopharyngeal muscle with aging seems to be the main cause. Some neurologic diseases, such as a stroke, may result in malfunctioning of the cricopharyngeal muscle.


A small Zenker’s diverticulum can be asymptomatic (exhibit no symptoms). When a diverticulum increases in size, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Regurgitation (return of undigested food back into the mouth)
  • Sense of a lump in the neck
  • Halitosis (smelly breath) due to stagnant food in the pouch
  • Cough, especially at night
  • Hoarseness (voice change)
  • Involuntary gurgling noises when swallowing
  • Pneumonia due to aspiration of food in the windpipe