Esophageal Stricture

Definition

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
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Causes

Esophageal stricture is typically caused by scar tissue that develops as a result of the following:
  • Ingestion of damaging substances, such as household cleaning agents
  • Treatment of esophageal varices —enlarged veins in the esophagus
  • Injuries caused by an endoscope—a thin, lighted tube used to see inside the body
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Tracheoesophageal malformations

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of esophageal stricture include:
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Prolonged use of a nasogastric tube—a tube that is inserted through the nose to the stomach
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Barrett esophagus
  • Certain medications, such as those used to treat osteoporosis, or some antibiotics

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Regurgitation of food—when food flows back from the stomach into the esophagus or mouth
  • Esophageal stricture may cause large chunks of food to get stuck in the esophagus

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:

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