Esophageal stricture - benign

Definition

Benign esophageal stricture is a narrowing of the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). It causes swallowing difficulties.

Benign means that it is not caused by cancer of the esophagus.

Causes

Esophageal stricture can be caused by:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

You may need the following tests:

Treatment

Dilation (stretching) of the esophagus using a thin cylinder or balloon that is inserted through an endoscope is the main treatment for acid reflux related strictures.You may need to have this treatment repeated after a period of time to prevent the stricture from narrowing again.

Proton pump inhibitors (acid-blocking medicines) can keep a peptic stricture from returning. Surgery is rarely needed.

If you have eosinophilic esophagitis, you may need to take medicines or make changes to your diet to reduce the inflammation. In some cases, dilation is done.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The stricture may come back in the future. This would require a repeat dilation.

Possible Complications

Swallowing problems may keep you from getting enough fluids and nutrients. Solid food, especially meat, can get stuck above the stricture. If this happens, endoscopy would be needed to remove the lodged food.

There is also a higher risk of having food, fluid, or vomit enter the lungs with regurgitation. This can cause choking or aspiration pneumonia.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have swallowing problems that do not go away.

Prevention

Use safety measures to avoid swallowing substances that can harm your esophagus. Keep dangerous chemicals out of the reach of children. See your provider if you have GERD.


Review Date: 10/22/2018
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.