What is esophageal stenosis?
We can conceptualize esophageal stenosis as the narrowing of the esophagus as a result of various causes that we will explain below.
The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach and has a close relationship with the process of swallowing. When swallowing food, various muscles and organs in the throat, including the esophagus, come into play, allowing the passage of food.
When swallowing food, various muscles and organs in the throat, including the esophagus, come into play, allowing the passage of food.
Although esophageal stenosis is not considered a medical emergency, it is important to seek timely treatment because it can trigger other conditions related to the malfunction of the esophagus that can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, or lung damage.
Symptoms of esophageal stenosis.
Among the symptoms observed in this condition, none are alarming at first glance, but it is necessary to emphasize the importance of contacting a doctor when they persist after two or four weeks.
- Pain and/or difficulty swallowing.
- Constant reflux.
- Regurgitation of food without apparent cause.
- Unintentional weight loss.
Causes of esophageal stenosis.
There are various situations that can cause inflammation of the esophagus, including:
- Prolonged use of the nasogastric tube, which involves the esophagus, and its contact can cause narrowing of this organ.
- Consumption of toxic substances that cause severe damage to the esophagus, which is common in children, referring to household substances such as bleach, bathroom cleaners, batteries or battery acid, etc.
- Gastroesophageal reflux, which occurs when gastric juices flow back into the esophagus.
- Misuse of the endoscope or injuries caused by it.
- Esophageal varices and their treatments are situations that can produce esophageal stenosis.
Diagnosis of esophageal stenosis.
The way to diagnose this condition is through a physical evaluation with exams such as:
- Endoscopy: An exam performed with an endoscope, a long, flexible instrument with a camera that is inserted through the throat to observe the internal situation of the body in detail.
- Esophagography: It is a contrast X-ray that receives a dose of iodine contrast that helps to stain the organs and make them visible to the exam. Through X-rays, the internal condition of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines can be observed.
Treatments for esophageal stenosis
Nutritional recommendations. Changing foods can contribute to reducing reflux and, as a result, obtaining the natural recovery of the esophagus.
Likewise, the doctor will recommend other medications in combination with new habits to accelerate the process, these drugs may be anti-inflammatory, digestive, and analgesic.
Obtaining a prescription for these medications will depend on the condition of the esophagus as well as the reason for esophageal stenosis.
Intermediate, minimally invasive treatment:
It is an endoscopic intervention in which manual dilation of the esophagus is performed, using an endoscope and a surgical balloon that is inserted and then inflated to expand the space of the esophagus.
Invasive treatment, anti-reflux surgery
This surgical procedure is performed through an incision or via laparoscopy and aims to make the necessary closures to prevent stomach pressure from pushing gastric acid and food towards the esophagus.
Risk factors for esophageal stenosis.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals can be a risk factor that predisposes patients to suffer damage to the esophagus.
You can prevent problems in the esophagus by maintaining preventive care in the esophagus by taking care of your diet and avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals.
Remember to consult with a professional if you experience symptoms of esophageal stenosis.
Dr. Lech can help you.