Scar tissue mainly causes esophageal stricture. This may happen because of:
- Eating or drinking harmful substances such as household cleaning agents
- Treating esophageal varices —enlarged veins
- Injuries caused by an endoscope—a thin, lighted tube used to see inside the body
- Esophageal cancer
- Structural problems
Your chances of esophageal stricture is higher for:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Long term use of a nasogastric tube—a tube placed through the nose and into the stomach
- Barrett esophagus
- Certain medicines such as those used to treat osteoporosis
- Some antibiotics
You may need one or more of these:
- Esophageal dilation —To stretch or widen the esophagus. A scope is passed through your mouth. It then goes into the esophagus. A balloon or plastic dilator will widen and open the narrowed part.
- Medicines—In some people, GERD causes these problems. Your doctor may give you medicines. These will lower the amount of acid in the stomach. They may also help keep the narrowing from coming back.
Surgery—may be needed if the stricture:
- Is severe
- Can't be fixed with other methods
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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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
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Esophageal stricture. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Esophageal-Stricture.aspx. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116914/Gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-GERD . Updated September 14, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Oesophageal strictures, webs, and rings. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/oesophageal-strictures-webs-and-rings. Updated February 15, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2018.
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 August 14, 2018.