Esophageal stricture is when the esophagus narrows making it hard to swallow. The esophagus is a muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal stricture may cause large chunks of food to get stuck in the esophagus. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor.
Injuries caused by medications that can irritate the esophagus (such as some medications to treat
and some antibiotics)
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Scarring, due to acid irritation, increases your chances of developing esophageal stricture. The most common cause of esophageal stricture is GERD. If you have this risk factor, tell your doctor.
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to esophageal stricture. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor.
Pain when swallowing
Unintentional weight loss
Regurgitation of food (when food flows back from the stomach into the esophagus or mouth)
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may need to see a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver (gastroenterologist). The gastrointestinal tract includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, and anus.
Tests may include:
—a series of x-rays of the esophagus during and after drinking a barium solution
Endoscopy—examination of the esophagus using a lighted, flexible instrument called an endoscope
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Esophageal dilation is a procedure your doctor performs to stretch or widen your esophagus. Your doctor will pass an endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. He will either inflate a small balloon or use tapered plastic dilators to stretch your esophagus. For your comfort, your doctor may perform this procedure while you are sedated and may apply a local anesthetic spray to the back of your throat. Repeat dilations are often required to adequately stretch the esophagus.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
When esophageal stricture is caused by GERD, proton pump inhibitors, or acid-blocking medicines, are used to prevent the stricture from returning.
If you are diagnosed with esophageal stricture, follow your doctor's instructions.
To help reduce your chances of getting esophageal stricture, take the following steps:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a