Alia Bucciarelli, MS
Esophageal stricture is the narrowing of the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal stricture makes it hard to swallow and move contents downward.
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:
Esophageal stricture may cause:
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:
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 the first part of the small intestine. A small balloon or tapered plastic dilators will be used to stretch your esophagus. 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.
Surgery may be necessary if the stricture is too tight or wide.
To help reduce your chance of esophageal stricture:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Caustic esophageal stricture. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114901/Caustic-esophageal-stricture. Updated August 8, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116914/Gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-GERD. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Oesophageal strictures, webs, and rings. Patient UK website. Available at:
http://patient.info/doctor/oesophageal-strictures-webs-and-rings. 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 June 2016 by
Daus Mahnke, MD
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 medical condition.
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