Throat Stretching

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friendlygal
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Date Joined Dec 2006
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   Posted 4/18/2008 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
OK, so it's been three years of hell.  Food always gets stuck going down, the lump in the throat never goes away, no matter what I"ve tried.  And, it's not nerves...
 
SO...I'm thinking, should I get my esophagus dilated?  Have any of you had it done?  Do you know of anyone else who has?  Was it successful?
 
I just can't live like this anymore, life is passing me by!!

marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 4/18/2008 10:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Yep, I've had it done twice. This is MY experience...yours may be different of course. The food getting stuck going down is relieved, but it takes a while to heal. The lump in the throat is caused by acid backing up in the throat...this is not relieved by having the procedure done.

The first time I had it done, it was no big deal. It lasted for two years and I felt great. I was asleep a few short minutes...just like a tooth procedure. I had been getting food stuck in my chest and it had been frightening...it was terrible. This was all relieved.

The food started getting stuck again two years later. I had the procedure re-done. It was simple again, but my esophagus went into spasms after. I had to go to the ER where I was treated like crap. For some reason, the procedure this time left the lower flap open more which led to terrible GERD. This was in December 2007. I am just now healing and getting over the severe GERD. I lost over 30 pounds.

My advice to you is to find a GI where the staff is friendly and supportive. If they act like jerks now...just wait till you are in pain post-op and need help.

Good luck...I would still definitely have it done again because I could not have continued with the food getting stuck.

friendlygal
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   Posted 4/20/2008 11:44 AM (GMT -6)   
marthamae, thanks for sharing that!  Did the doctors actually see food getting stuck when you did tests?  Or was this just a symptom that you had to tell them about?

marthamae
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Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 4/20/2008 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   

No, this was not something they saw on tests. This was something I KNEW! You would know it clearly too. It was terrifying. It felt like you were going to choke to death on the food, however, if you calmed down, you could breathe. The food would not move up or down. It was very painful because it was stretching out the esophagus and making it spasm. Eventually it would go down...maybe after a half hour or so. I actually called the paramedics once. How embarrassing! This problem is called "Schatzi's ring" or sometimes "steakhouse syndrome" because often people first notice it when they choke on a piece of meat. Google it for more info.

I've heard of other people who were able to throw the food back up the other way but I was always scared to do that. I was afraid it might somehow go into my lungs or windpipe.


friendlygal
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Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 4/21/2008 9:46 AM (GMT -6)   
marthamae, but Schatzki's ring IS something that would show up on tests (at least that's what I read and also what I've been told).  And, for a couple of years now, food has been getting stuck for me, too and it's even been painful...Yet doctors don't see this happening in my tests.  So they have just ignored my symptoms.

So_1985
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/23/2008 1:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had it done twice as well. It's not to big of a deal. Food goes down real easy afterwards, at least for a while. It's been about a year since my last one and my doc has been trying setup an appoint for a re-exam. I've taken Prilosec for a while but have been on Prevacid for the past 6 months or so. It seems to be fine when I take my meds but I have been off for about a month or more now and am trying alternatives.

Beth75
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Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2142
   Posted 4/23/2008 1:33 PM (GMT -6)   
WOW! For the past six months or so I have been getting liquid or food stuck in my throat. The first few times I thought I was going to die, it was so painful and scary. It happens at least once a week now. Sometimes I can feel it about to happen and stop myself from drinking something or spit out what I am chewing, but most of the time I am caught unawares and it is embarrasing. I try to remain calm and breathe through my nose.

I did not know this was an actual disease. I have been on prilosec for 3 months now and it does help my gall bladder pain, but the pain has not gone away (that is a little worrisome).
Beth, 32 ~ Major Flare Sept/Oct 07 ~ in remission
UC dx'd 03/00 (Proctosigmoiditis); Pancolitis since 09/07
Azathioprine 200mg 1xday nightly; Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Prilosec, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) dx'd 09/07 - partial remission since 03/08
Prednisone 10mg 1xday (taper 5mg a week from 60 = ), Simvastatin 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Enalpril 20mg 1xday, Fursomide 20mg 1xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs.  Do you have edema? If so, check your blood protien level!
Pre-Diabetic from Prednisone use - Low carb/sugar diet & exercise.


marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 4/23/2008 7:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Beth, if it started a while ago and has slowly gotten worse, it is likely a ring just like mine. That is the pattern.....you notice it very occasionally. Then more frequently...then suddenly it is happening often. The fact that yours is painful and scary is very familiar. DO NOT wait until you are caught in public and start choking on something. This happened to me and was horribly embarrassing. I can't tell you how awful it was to have people stare at me.

Call your family doctor and ask for a GI referral. Tell the GI you are having trouble swallowing and suspect you may have Schatzi's ring. He should take it from there. The procedure is not bad at all. It is a million times better than that choking, panicked feeling. Never again.

Until you can get to see a doctor, try slim-fast, yogurt, pudding, etc. if things are bad. Cut all meat up into very tiny pieces and do not gulp. Chew a lot and then chew it again. Do not eat bread with meat (as in a sandwich). Cook all meat very thoroughly so you're eating very soft chicken or ground beef etc. Most people choke on chunks of ham, steak, chicken, or bread. I probably sound like a nut, but I have been through heck and back with this problem.

friendlygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 4/23/2008 7:55 PM (GMT -6)   
marthamae, how come my doctors said that they have to observe things getting stuck before diagnosing me with it? I obviously tell them the same things that you did.

friendlygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 4/23/2008 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I am trying to eat chicken, but it makes me choke.  That is why I wrote this post. marthamae, I'm really wondering why your GI doctors are just going by your symptoms.  your symptoms are JUST LIKE MINE.  So why don't they diagnose me with the same thing?  How come they say that they have to see this in tests.  Please respond....

Beth75
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2142
   Posted 4/24/2008 11:32 AM (GMT -6)   
I already have a GI for my ulcerative colitis and see him in less than 6 months (just saw him 2 weeks ago!). I will talk to him about it, next time I see him and yes, it has happened in public, I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich and it was horrible.

I just don't want one more thing wrong w/me, AAAGH (well who does, right?) If it gets worse between now and then I will up my appt.

thank you, thank you, thank you! At least I am not alone, I thought I was doing something wrong....
Beth, 32 ~ Major Flare Sept/Oct 07 ~ in remission
UC dx'd 03/00 (Proctosigmoiditis); Pancolitis since 09/07
Azathioprine 200mg 1xday nightly; Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Prilosec, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) dx'd 09/07 - partial remission since 03/08
Prednisone 10mg 1xday (taper 5mg a week from 60 = ), Simvastatin 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Enalpril 20mg 1xday, Fursomide 20mg 1xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs.  Do you have edema? If so, check your blood protien level!
Pre-Diabetic from Prednisone use - Low carb/sugar diet & exercise.


friendlygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 4/24/2008 1:38 PM (GMT -6)   

 

I have also had it happen in public.  I am so glad that my posting this has helped you, Beth.  Let me know what your doctor says.  I have terrible GERD and also already have a GI doctor.  But, I have been told that you need tests to confirm that you have what marthamae is talking about.  Should I just switch GI doctors then?


skooby
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 4/24/2008 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   

friendlygal

You sound alot like me. I have been dealing with this crap what seems like forever and it comes and goes. I was scoped 10-2006 and they found nothing wrong. Miracously all my symptoms disappeared after the scope. Well one year later they are back. I never had the GERd feeling prior just the swallowing issue. Well now its the darn gerd. I cannot get by more than 48 hours without a perscrption prilosec. I am giving it until the middle of may and if it has not cleared up back to the GI I go.

How long have you been dealing with this if you do not mind me asking?


marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 4/24/2008 10:55 PM (GMT -6)   
If you are having trouble swallowing and are getting food stuck and are choking, your GI should be willing to knock you out briefly, put a scope down there and see if you have a ring or a blockage. If you do, he can quickly dilate it while you are under.

If I told a doctor I was choking regularly on food and he did nothing, I would go to another doctor.

You are the customer.

GERD is different from this ring problem. I have had both. Having the tightness, fullness, and acid in your throat is bad, but it is different from getting food actually STUCK in your chest as it goes down.

friendlygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 4/26/2008 1:57 PM (GMT -6)   
marthamae, I've been scoped before.  They didn't see a ring.  So, then I guess that they DID actually see a ring in your case?????
 
 

marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 4/26/2008 4:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, friendly, they did see a ring. Then they passed this "balloon" like thing down to break up the scar like tissue that formed the ring. This was the cause of my problem.

If you don't have a ring, is it possible that your throat (esophagus) is swelling from too much acid irritation? This could cause a cycle of trouble swallowing, anxiety, panic, more acid, trouble swallowing, etc. After I had my surgery, it took about five months for my throat to heal. During that time I panicked a lot about choking. It was a really bad cycle.

snickers0506
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 63
   Posted 5/2/2008 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I have gerd and a hiatel hernia in addition to UC.  I had my throat stretched maybe a year ago and it was no biggie.  The worst part was not being able to eat before hand and then waiting two hours after and the throat numbing spray tastes awful.  Other than that the procedure was fine.  I was feeling so good from the drugs when they did it that I didn't care less or feel a thing.   I had been choking to the point my family called 911 cause it was coming back up and I couldn't breathe.  I still have issues now and have to chew my food good. (esp. breads and dry food)  I will probably have it done again soon but I have a huge medical deductible so I'm waiting as long as I can.  My Dad had the same problem and my GI doc said One stretching could fix it or every year, couple years, etc.  Everyone is different.  Good luck and don't worry if you have to have it done.  It's worth it. 
40 yrs young
dx UC (pancolitis) Dec 03 then re-dx to Crohns colitis April 04 then re-dx again to UC Dec 07-currently taking no meds and in remission


friendlygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 5/2/2008 11:01 PM (GMT -6)   
marthamae, I think you're absolutely right about it being some kind of cycle...I'm not sure if it's GERD, or something else (I mean I have GERD, but maybe the throat tightening is not just from that)...
 
lmb0114, What is "UC"?  I'm not so much worried about the procedure itself, I'm worried that it will ruin something in the esophagus, such as forcing it to be out of the correct shape and require me to get it stretched all the time for the rest of my life...Bye the way, I also choke terribly, like you did...So, maybe it will be a solution!
 
But, marthamae, didn't you say that it doesn't help with the lump in the throat, but it only helps with the food getting stuck??
 
I am soooo tired of the choking!!
 
 
 

snickers0506
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 63
   Posted 5/13/2008 3:21 PM (GMT -6)   
UC is Ulcerative Colitis. If you are choking I still I would say definitely have your GI doctor (get one if you don't have one) and have an upper GI scope to see what exactly the problem is. If it needs to be stretched they can do it right then and there and if it's something else then they can direct you which way to go. Good luck.
40 yrs young
dx UC (pancolitis) Dec 03 then re-dx to Crohns colitis April 04 then re-dx again to UC Dec 07-currently taking no meds and in remission


friendlygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 5/13/2008 3:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I've already had all the tests.

mlp
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 5/22/2008 11:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Sorry I'm late in answering. I don't check in much these days. Hope I can help someone with my experience.

I have a history of choking over a long period of time. I got to the point that I had to crush certain medications with a mortar and pestle because it was the only way I could swallow. Well, I choked on a piece of macademia nut fudge. I could breathe, but if I ate or drank anything, it would come back up. I went into the doctor, went directly to a gastro doctor who had me scoped (upper endoscopic exam). Because I had been choking he went straight to that rather than an up GI at first. I had a case of Schatzii's ring, where part of the esophagus constricts and becomes one or more concentric rings. In my case it was several rings. A sliver of nut had bridged the top ring. The doctor dislodged the nut and then tried to dilate. It was so constricted that he couldn't even fit the smallest pediatric dilator into the ring. He then put me on liquid diet, liquid zantac, and told me to wait a week to heal. He then scoped again, dilated a bit, and then did it twice more over a couple of months. He did it in increments because he didn't want to tear my esophagus. This was back in 1999 or so. He scoped again in a year, found it had constricted a bit, and dilated again. I then went back in every three or so years. I never felt much acid reflux. He identified a hiatel hernia, so diagnosed silent acid reflux and put me on Prilosec and eventually Nexium. I couldn't get off of it because we assumed it was causing damage without me feeling it.

From what I gather, it is not necessary to see food getting stuck. After the first time the gastro doctor would observe my esophagus and note when it was dilated by the size of the esophagus. I'm sure there are ways to measure the opening.

Fast forward to 2005. I had been under a LOT of stress. I started feeling severe acid reflux. He scoped me and found some stricture, but no other issues. He dilated again and sent me home. about 48 hours after the scope I remember feeling something squirt UP my esophagus. It was like a water pistol shooting up from the stomach. Must have been acid. I felt totally awful for a long time afterward. I had to do it all --- take Nexium twice a day (on doctor's advice), acid reflux pillow, change the diet, etc. Over time I got better. I'm convinced that scope did something to the LES that allowed acid to back up. He says it wasn't possible, of course.

A year or two ago my younger brother went in with similar symptoms. He was diagnosed with esophilliac esophagitis (sp?). It is an allergic reaction -- they don't know to what. It can cause the esophagus to constrict. This has recently been identified and there isn't much history on it. Well, the doctor called me before I had a chance to call him. He had heard about the condition at a conference and immediately thought of me. The next time we scoped he took a biopsy, and sure enough, I have it. I went in for allergy tests but they didn't find a cause. There are some features to the disease, such as it isn't GERD and PPI's don't help. Also, it runs in the family. Most importantly, there is a higher probability that the esophagus can be torn when dilated. My gastro doctor said he will be less likely to dilate -- only if it has constricted enough to be likely to cause a life threatening choking incident.

Bottom line: make sure your doctor knows about the condition and agree beforehand what you are going to do. Your doctor should be less inclined to dilate if you have it. The problem is that he/she won't know until the biopsy results come back. Disclaimer: this info is over a year old. It is a fairly new identified condition and it's possible that info on the condition has changed.

Good luck.

mlp
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