Esophageal stricture is a narrowing of the tube (esophagus) that goes from the mouth to the stomach. This makes it hard to take in food.
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The main cause is scar tissue. This may happen because of:
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
- Pain and trouble swallowing
- A feeling of food being stuck
- Bringing swallowed food up again
- Drooling, coughing, or choking
- Problems getting enough fluids or nutrition
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical may be done.
Other tests may be:
The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms and stop them from coming back. Options are:
- Medicines to lower stomach acid in people whose GERD is causing the narrowing
- Esophageal dilation to stretch or widen the esophagus using a scope and a balloon or plastic dilator
Surgery may be needed when other methods do not help.
To lower the risk of this problem:
- People with GERD should follow the care plan given to them by their doctors.
- Avoid substances that can damage the esophagus.
- Keep harmful substances away from children.
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy https://www.asge.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians https://familydoctor.org
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology https://www.cag-acg.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada https://www.cfpc.ca
Caustic esophageal stricture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/caustic-esophageal-stricture. Accessed October 21, 2020.
Esophageal stricture. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Esophageal-Stricture.aspx. Accessed October 21, 2020.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Accessed October 21, 2020.
Kellerman R, Kintanar T. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Prim Care. 2017 Dec;44(4):561-573.
Understanding esophageal dilation. American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website. Available at: https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients/patient-information/understanding-eso-dilation-updated. Accessed October 21, 2020.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
- Review Date: 09/2020
- Update Date: 10/21/2020