WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Esophageal (e-sofah-JE-al) stricture (STRIK-chur) is a condition where there is a narrowing of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. With an esophageal stricture, an abnormal change or injury may have caused inflammation (swelling) and damage to the esophagus. When the damaged areas heal, scar tissue forms and make the affected area of the esophagus hard. This narrows the esophagus and causes problems for foods and liquids to pass through. An esophageal stricture may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). This is based on the presence of abnormal cells in the esophageal stricture.
- The most common symptom is heartburn, which is a burning pain in the chest. This usually occurs after meals and may spread to your neck, jaw, or shoulder. You may also have pain when swallowing, frequent choking or coughing, vomiting (throwing up), or weight loss. Esophageal stricture is diagnosed by having an endoscopy or barium swallow. Treatment may include medicines, endoscopic therapies, or surgery. With early diagnosis and treatment, symptoms may be relieved and other serious health problems prevented.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Your caregiver may need to repeat your endoscopy and biopsy. Ask your caregiver when you will need another endoscopy.
You may not be able to eat solid foods for a period of time. You may be allowed to drink water, broth, apple juice, or lemon-lime soda pop. You may also suck on ice chips or eat gelatin. As you improve, you may be given soft foods to eat or thickened liquids to drink. You may be placed on a full diet as your swallowing gets better. A caregiver, called a dietitian, may talk to you about your feeding and nutrition. If you continue to have trouble swallowing, a therapist may teach you a safer way to swallow. The therapist will also help you learn which foods and liquids are safe to eat and drink.
Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
For support and more information:
Having esophageal stricture may be life-changing for you. You and those close to you may feel scared, sad, or anxious. These are normal feelings. Talk to your caregiver, family, or friends about your feelings. Contact the following for more information:
- American Academy of Family Physicians
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood , KS 66211-2680
Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
Web Address: http://www.aafp.org
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
2 Information Way
Bethesda , MD 20892-3570
Phone: 1- 800 - 891-5389
Web Address: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You are throwing up and cannot keep any food or liquids down.
- You feel very full and cannot burp or vomit (throw up).
- You have pain that does not decrease or go away after taking your medicine.
- You have questions or concerns about esophageal stricture, your care, or medicine.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have severe chest pain and trouble breathing all of a sudden.
- Your bowel movements are black, bloody, or tarry-looking.
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- Your vomit looks like coffee grounds or has blood in it.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.