The most common cause of narrowing of the esophagus, or stricture, is scarring of the esophagus from reflux of stomach acid occurring in patients with heartburn.
Symptoms; Patients with a narrowed portion of the esophagus often have trouble swallowing; food feels like it is “stuck” in the chest region, causing discomfort or pain.
Procedure; Esophageal dilation is a procedure that allows your doctor to dilate, or stretch, a narrowed area of your esophagus [swallowing tube]. Depending on the degree and cause of narrowing of your esophagus, it is common to require repeat dilations.
This allows the dilation to be performed gradually and decreases the risk of complications. Once the stricture, or narrowed esophagus, is completely dilated, repeat dilations may not be required.
If the stricture was due to acid reflux, acid-suppressing medicines can decrease the risk of stricture recurrence.
Your doctor might perform the procedure as part of a sedated endoscopy.
Alternatively, your doctor might apply a local anesthetic spray to the back of your throat and then pass a weighted dilator through your mouth and into your esophagus.
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