Esophageal Stricture in Denver, CO
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What is an esophageal stricture?
Esophageal stricture is a condition that describes the narrowing of the esophagus, which is the structure that connects the mouth to the stomach. It often results due to a buildup of scar tissue from damage caused to the esophagus, such as that which occurs with acid reflux. Esophageal strictures can lead to difficulties with swallowing, which can impact a person's ability to consume foods and liquids properly. Signs and symptoms of esophageal strictures can include pain, discomfort, difficulty when swallowing, heartburn, the regurgitation of liquids or food, frequent hiccuping or burping, and unplanned weight loss. An esophageal stricture usually occurs over time, as scar tissue continues to build up. To learn more about this condition and how it can be treated, contact our team at Colorado Gastroenterology to schedule an appointment at our Denver, CO office.
What causes esophageal stricture?
Positioned at the bottom of the esophagus is a ring of muscle tissue known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Acting as a valve, the LES relaxes to enable food or liquids to pass into the stomach. It then tightens or constricts to keep stomach acid from moving back into the esophagus. The esophagus does not have a protective lining to protect it against acid damage.
In cases where the LES does not function properly, the backflow of stomach acid can damage the esophageal lining over time, leading to the formation of scar tissue. If the condition is allowed to continue and further scar tissue develops, the esophagus will start to narrow and construct, causing an esophageal stricture. At Colorado Gastroenterology, our team in our Denver, CO office will create a treatment plan that works to successfully address the issue.
How is esophageal stricture detected and treated?
Our Colorado Gastroenterology team performs a variety of tests to determine whether or not an esophageal stricture has occurred. One such test is referred to as a barium swallow, which is where a patient will have a series of x-ray images captured shorting after swallowing a safe, non-toxic liquid that contains barium. The barium works by temporarily coating the inner lining of the esophagus. The barium appears white on the x-ray, allowing our gastroenterologists to better evaluate the esophagus. In some instances, an upper endoscopy may also be performed to help diagnose or evaluate an esophageal stricture.
In the event an esophageal stricture is diagnosed, our Denver, CO gastroenterologists may recommend a surgical approach to care that can help stretch out the esophagus or increase the support of the LES. During your consultation, our team will discuss all treatment options and help each patient decide what is ideal for their health and needs.
The experienced treatment you deserve
If you’ve experienced difficulty swallowing and heartburn that is happening frequently, contact our GI specialists at Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO. We can help you get relief from an esophageal stricture so that you can get back to life as normal.
Dr. Ruffner is great! Really nice guy who seems to genuinely care about his patients.
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My interactions with Dr. Rufner and the staff of Colorado Gastroenterology have been professional, friendly, and reassuring.
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Great staff and service!