What is esophageal stricture?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lead to the scarring over time as the tissue in the esophagus attempts to heal itself. Scar tissue is thicker than the healthy lining of the esophagus, which leads to the esophagus to constrict in places where the scar tissue forms. This narrowing in the esophagus makes it hard to swallow and is called a stricture. Strictures function as a barrier to food being consumed and can eventually stop food as well as liquids from making their way down the esophagus and into the stomach. Eighty percent of esophageal strictures are associated with GERD.

See: Ayurveda treatment for GERD and Acidity

Symptoms of esophageal strictures

Esophageal strictures symptoms:

- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

- Regurgitation of food

- Weight Reduction

- Chest discomfort/pain

- heartburn

- dehydration or malnutrition

- coughing or choking

With strictures, you might end up chewing more, needing to wash down food with water or other liquids as well as taking smaller bites of food to allow it to pass through the esophagus. Some people with strictures start to eat less due to pain when swallowing. This may result in weight loss. When the food gets clogged in your esophagus from a severe stricture and is vomited back up, you might need immediate treatment.

Doctors can diagnose strictures using a barium esophagram. The barium esophagram summarizes the size and location of the stricture or strictures of your esophagus. Your physician may also perform an endoscopy to evaluate the situation on your esophagus visually.

See: Functional medicine for GERD

Factors increasing risk factors of GERD

Reflux esophagitis

Factors that increase the risk factors of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - and are variables in reflux esophagitis - comprise the following:

• eating immediately before going to bed

• Excessively large and fatty foods

• Smoking

• Extra weight, including from pregnancy

Many foods may worsen symptoms of GERD or reflux esophagitis:

• tomato-based foods

• citrus fruits

• caffeine

• alcohol

• spicy foods

• garlic and onions

• chocolate

• mint-flavored foods


See: Acid Reflux Diet for GERD

Conventional treatment options

Conventional treatment options

There are several methods for treating benign esophageal Strictures, and the most acceptable choice will be based on the root cause. Causes of a benign esophageal stricture include:

GERD: In individuals with this disease, stomach acid comes back up the esophagus from the stomach to the mouth, which may irritate the lining of the esophagus.

- Injury from an endoscopy: Several medical procedures insert an instrument called an endoscope into the esophagus, which can sometimes injure this region of the body.

- Regular use of a nasogastric tube: This tube moves through The nose and esophagus to the stomach, allowing individuals to take food and liquid through it. Long-term or extensive use of the tube may result in an esophageal stricture.

- Intake of particular materials: Swallowing toxic substances, such as household cleaning products, can result in an esophageal stricture. Consuming extremely cold or hot fluids can also occasionally damage the esophagus.

Treatment for rectal varices: Swollen veins in the esophagus require therapy, which could sometimes scar the esophagus.

- Esophagitis: Esophagitis is an immune disorder that causes inflammation of the esophagus. It may occur because of an allergic reaction or a severe case of GERD.

- Scleroderma: This autoimmune disease can adversely affect the lining of the esophagus.

Conventional treatment options for this condition include medication or surgery.


See: Yoga for GERD

Natural treatments & home remedies

Lifestyle and home remedies

Based on the type of esophagitis that you have, you might lessen symptoms or prevent recurring problems by following these steps:

Avoid foods that may increase reflux. Avoid eating excessive amounts of foods which you know worsen your symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. These might include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and mint-flavored foods.

Use the best practice pill-taking habits. Always have a pill with an adequate amount of water. Don't lie down for al least half an hour after taking a pill.

Eliminate weight. Consult with your doctor about an appropriate routine of diet and exercise to help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

If you smoke, stop. Consult your physician if you need assistance to quit a smoking habit.

Avoid certain medications. Avoid taking some pain relievers and antibiotics, in addition to some other medicines after speaking to your doctor.

Avoid stooping or bending, especially shortly after ingestion.

Don't lie down after eating. Wait three hours after eating to lie down or go to bed.

Raise the head of your mattress. Place wooden blocks under your bed or mattress to elevate your head. Aim for an altitude of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters). Raising your mind by using only pillows is not that effective.

See: GERD Cough Natural Treatment

Complementary therapies for esophageal stricture

Complementary & Alternative Medicine Therapies For Esophageal Stricture

Complementary and alternative medicine therapies have not been proven in clinical trials to treat esophagitis. However, some complementary and alternative therapies may offer some relief from heartburn or reflux symptoms when coupled with your physician's care. Speak with your physician about what alternative treatments might be safe for you. Alternatives may include:

Herbal remedies. Herbal remedies occasionally used for heartburn or reflux symptoms include licorice, slippery elm, chamomile, marshmallow, and many others. Herbal remedies can have severe side effects, and they can interfere with medications. Consult your doctor about a safe dose prior to starting any herbal treatment.

Relaxation therapies. Methods to calm stress and anxiety may reduce signs and symptoms of heartburn or reflux. Consult your doctor about relaxation methods, such as guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation.

Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your body. Limited evidence suggests it may help individuals with regurgitation and heartburn, but elaborate research studies haven't proved a benefit. Ask your physician whether Acupuncture is safe for you.

• Diet Therapy

In instances where GERD triggers an esophageal stricture, making lifestyle and dietary changes can help treat symptoms. These changes may include:

Preventing hot, greasy, or greasy foods, as well as chocolate, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, as these can all cause GERD.

Losing excess weight.

Wearing loose-fitting clothes to alleviate pressure on the stomach.

Eating frequent small meals instead of three big meals a day.

Avoiding lying down until 3 hours after ingestion.


See: Acupuncture treatment for GERD

When to see a physician for esophageal stricture

Diagnosis and when to see a Physician: Doctors can use an upper GI endoscopy to spot a benign esophageal stricture. One should see a doctor if one experiences any symptoms of benign esophageal stricture. A physician will examine the upper GI tract, including the stomach and esophagus. Various treatment approaches can treat benign esophageal strictures effectively. If individuals have benign esophageal stricture as a result of GERD, they may need to make changes to their lifestyle or diet to handle the condition throughout their lifetime.


See: Mustard for heartburn & acid reflux relief

References

1. Esophageal stricture. (n.d.). https://www.denverhealth.org/conditions/e/esophageal-stricture#Overview

2. What is an esophageal stricture? (n.d.). https://www.nm.org/conditions-and-care-areas/digestive-health/esophageal-program/esophageal-stricture

3. Esophageal stent procedure. (n.d.). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/gastroenterology/esophageal_stent_procedure_135,396

4. Hwang, J. J. (2017). Safe and proper management of esophageal stricture using endoscopic esophageal dilation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5565041/

5. Understanding esophageal dilation. (n.d.). https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients/patient-information/understanding-eso-dilation-updated

6. Esophageal stricture. (n.d.). http://entcolumbia.org/content/esophageal-stricture

7. Gastroesophageal reflux disease treatments. (n.d.). https://www.nm.org/conditions-and-care-areas/digestive-health/esophageal-program/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease/treatments

8. Banki, F. (n.d.). Peptic esophageal stricture. http://www.memorialhermann.org/digestive/peptic-esophageal-stricture/

9. Benign esophageal stricture. (n.d.).

https://www.dignityhealth.org/arizona/locations/stjosephs/services/lung-disease-thoracic-disorders/conditions-treatments/benign-esophageal-stricture

10. Understanding upper endoscopy. (n.d.). https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients/patient-information/understanding-upper-endoscopy

11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/esophagitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20361264

See: What to drink for acid reflux & heartburn relief

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