A lower esophageal ring is an abnormal ring of tissue that forms where the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach) and stomach meet.
A lower esophageal ring is a birth defect of the esophagus that occurs in a small number of people. It causes narrowing of the lower esophagus.
Narrowing of the esophagus may also be caused by:
For most people, lower esophageal ring does not cause symptoms.
The most common symptom is the feeling that food (especially solid food) is stuck in the lower neck or under the breastbone (sternum).
Tests that show the lower esophageal ring include:
A device called a dilator is passed through the narrowed area to stretch the ring. Sometimes, a balloon is placed in the area and inflated, to help widen the ring.
Swallowing problems may return. You may need repeat treatment.
Call your health care provider if you have swallowing problems.
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.