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.
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Esophageal stricture is typically caused by scar tissue that develops as a result of the following:
Factors that may increase your chance of esophageal stricture include:
Symptoms may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Esophageal dilation is a procedure your doctor performs to stretch or widen your esophagus. An endoscope will be passed through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. A small balloon or tapered plastic dilators will be used to stretch your esophagus. For your comfort, this procedure may be performed while you are sedated. A local anesthetic spray may be applied to the back of your throat. Repeat dilations are often required to adequately stretch the esophagus.
When esophageal stricture is caused by GERD, proton pump inhibitors or acid-blocking medications are used to prevent the stricture from returning.
If you are diagnosed with esophageal stricture, follow your doctor's instructions.
Surgery may be necessary if the stricture is too tight or wide.
To help reduce your chance of getting esophageal stricture, take these steps:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Caustic esophageal stricture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what . Updated July 2, 2010. Accessed July 15, 2013.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated June 25, 2013. Accessed July 15, 2013.
Oesophageal strictures, webs, and rings. Patient.co.uk website. Available at: http://www.patient... . Updated March 18, 2011. Accessed July 15, 2013.
Understanding esophageal dilation. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website. Available at: http://www.asge.org/patients/patients.aspx?id=392 . Accessed July 15, 2013.
Last reviewed July 2013 by Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013