Strictures act as a barrier and can eventually prevent food and even liquids from making their way down the esophagus and into the stomach. Eighty percent of esophageal strictures are related to GERD.
Overview of Strictures
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause scarring over time as the tissue in the esophagus tries to heal itself. Scar tissue is thicker than the normal lining of the esophagus, which causes the esophagus to narrow in places where the scar tissue forms, making it difficult to swallow. Additionally, this narrowing in the esophagus which doctors call a stricture. Strictures act as a barrier and can eventually prevent food and even liquids from making their way down the esophagus and into the stomach. Eighty percent of these are related to GERD.
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Regurgitation of food
- Weight loss
- Chest discomfort/pain
With narrowing of the esophagus, you may find yourself chewing longer, needing to wash food down with water or other liquids and even taking smaller bites of food to help it pass through the esophagus. Some people with strictures begin to eat less because of pain when swallowing. This can lead to weight loss. When food gets stuck in your esophagus from a severe stricture you may vomit. If this happens you may need immediate treatment.
Doctors can diagnose strictures with a barium esophagram. Additionally, the barium esophagram outlines the size and location of the stricture or strictures in your esophagus. Your doctor may also perform an endoscopy to visually evaluate the situation in your esophagus visually.
Stricture Treatment in Dallas
- Dilation- stretching/dilating the wall of the esophagus to enlarge the opening to allow food to pass into the stomach
Your gastroenterologist from the Digestive Health Center in Dallas may also prescribe PPIs, also known as proton pump inhibitors.
Lastly, acid-suppression medication may help reduce the need for additional dilations, thereby lowering the possibility for esophageal perforations, bleeding and other complications. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or chest pain, it’s important to get checked out by a GI doctor. These could be signs of stricture. Make an appointment with Digestive Health Centers in Texas today. Our expert gastroenterologists can provide a proper diagnosis and stricture treatment to help you feel better.