An esophageal stricture is a
gradual narrowing of the esophagus,
which can lead to swallowing difficulties.
The strictures are caused by scar
tissue that builds up in the esophagus,
when the lining of the esophagus
When scarring occurs, the lining
of the esophagus becomes stiff.
As this scar tissue continues
to build up, the esophagus begins
to narrow in that area. The result
is swallowing difficulties.
Causes of esophageal
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Prolonged use of a nasogastric
- Ingestion of corrosive substances
- Viral or bacterial infections
Symptoms of Esophageal
- Difficulty swallowing
- Discomfort with swallowing
- A feeling that food gets
stuck in the esophagus
- Regurgitation of food
- Weight loss
Complications of Esophageal
- Swallowing difficulties may
keep the patient from getting
enough fluids and nutrients.
- Increased risk of regurgitated
food, fluid, or vomit entering
the lungs and cause choking
or aspiration pneumonia
are diagnosed by:
- Barium swallow, in which
the patient swallows barium
and x-rays are taken to show
the narrowing of the esophagus.
- Endoscopy exam, in which
a narrow tube is inserted into
Treatments of Esophageal
- Dilation. The esophagus is
stretched by passing a dilator
or air-filled balloon through
an endoscope. Repeated dilation
may be necessary to prevent
the stricture from returning.
- Medications such as omeprazole,
lansoprazole or rabeprazole.
Surgical treatment is rarely
necessary. It is performed if
a stricture cannot be dilated
enough to allow solid food to
pass through. Surgery is also
performed if repeated dilations
do not keep these strictures from
After treatment, a patient can
usually go back to regular routines
and diets. Some patients may develop
strictures again in the future.