The main cause is scar tissue. This may happen because of:
- Eating or drinking harmful substances, such as household cleaners
- Enlarged veins from esophageal varices treatments
- Injuries caused by an endoscope—a thin, lighted tube used to see inside the body
- Esophageal cancer
- Structural problems
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Long-term use of a nasogastric tube—a tube placed through the nose and into the stomach
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Barrett esophagus
- Certain medicines, such as antibiotics and medicines used to treat osteoporosis
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:
- An upper GI endoscopy to look at the structures from the back of the throat to the stomach
- An upper GI series to take pictures of the digestive system using contrast material to highlight abnormalities
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.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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