Most commonly, scarring results from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and repeated chemical burns to the mucous membrane of the esophagus. Occasionally, severe injury to the esophagus, such as drinking strong chemicals, results in scarring and a stricture.
- Food getting “stuck”
- Symptoms that overlap with GERD
- Upper GI (gastrointestinal) series, also called a barium swallow: This test looks at the organs of the top part of the digestive system. After you swallow a metallic fluid called barium, which coats the organs so they can be seen on an X-ray, a provider checks the food pipe (esophagus), stomach and first part of the small intestine (duodenum).
- Upper endoscopy or EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy): This test looks at the lining or inside of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The test is performed with an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube with a camera on the end. The endoscope is inserted into the mouth and throat. Then it goes into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Your provider can see inside these organs and take a small tissue sample (biopsy) to determine the cause (scarring versus cancer).
Strictures are usually treated with dilation. This is typically done in conjunction with upper endoscopy or EGD. If strictures worsen, return or involve the majority of the esophagus, the best option may be surgical removal and replacement with stomach or colon.