Esophegus Stricture

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thegrimmsleeper
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 10/26/2005 5:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Just curious how many members here have, or have had in the past, a stricture of the esophegus. Also have some questions for anyone who's had it. I don't personally know anyone who has this, even though I know many people who have reflux. I'm curious to see how my own case compares to others... 
 
- How long did you suffer from reflux before you were told you had a stricture?
- What medication(s) were you put on to help control the reflux?
- How severe is/was the stricture? Could you still eat solid foods? Problems swallowing liquid?
- If you had an endoscopy / dilation procedure, did you learn you also had barret's esophegus?
- Have you had multiple dilation procedures, or did one seem to take care of it?
- Have you experienced esophegeal spasms? If so, what did they feel like?
- Do you have a hiatal hernia with your reflux? If so, are there any strange symptoms or sensations associated with it?
 
Much of this is to satisfy my own curiosity, but a few questions are driven by more than curiosity. In particular, I'm wondering if strictures and barret's go hand-in-hand. My reflux went untreated for a few years while I was told I had asthma and given asthma medications. Then I began having problems swallowing. At first it was just large pills - like the Ny-quil liquicaps. Then it was any pills... certain types of meat... hot dogs... I was treated for Sinusitus and told it was excees drainage plugging up my throat. But that didn't work either. Finally I saw my PCP's nurse practitioner and she at last diagnosed me with reflux, referred me to a GI doctor, and put me on prevacid. The prevacid (30 mg/day in powder form since I can't swallow pills) neutralized all reflux symptoms pretty much immediately. Let me say that I took it for the first time, then ate pizza less than 30 minutes later. Normally I would have been up all night with heartburn but I didn't even bat an eye.
 
Still on prevacid. I had an unsuccessful dilation procedure 2 years ago. It was unsuccessful because I woke up halfway through and gagged. The probe tore the esophegus lining and I had to have chest x-rays to ensure the tear didn't go clear through. (Thank God it didn't.) I'm all set next month to have the dilation again and this time actually get a biopsy done, since they couldn't do it last time.
 
Now, my gastro doctor (who is outstanding) did not mention any concern about barret's or anything, and was more concerned for the stricture itself. But I've had some different things going on since the onset of costo and my anxiety, and of course it raises some concerns for me that the oddities are related to barret's. Even though I've been getting prevacid for the past few years, there have been gaps where I didn't take it for various reasons, and during those gaps the reflux persisted.
 
Okay, sorry for the long post. Just curious about some of this stuff, so any answers from fellow GERD sufferers would be appreciated. It can be an unpleasant condition. All four of my kids have it to some degree, no thanks to me. My 3 year old is on prilosec and zantac, one of my twins has a very mild case of reflux plus IBS, and his twin brother has a nasty case of reflux, and something termed "reflux induced bronchial spasms" which can prompt asthma-like symptoms. He's on a nebulizer for that but the steroids in his meds gave him an infection in his esophegus that made it hard for him to eat solid foods. That was dealt with now so he's doing better. It saddens me to see kids on all these meds but it's better than having them suffer with the symptoms.
 
Sorry for the rant there, it happens sometimes with me. Thanks in advance to anyone who answers!

mlp
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 10/26/2005 8:16 PM (GMT -6)   
- How long did you suffer from reflux before you were told you had a stricture?
Not a clue. I apparently suffered from "silent" reflux for many years. Over time I had choked on several things and just began chewing longer, not taking large vitamin tablets, etc. However, I had rarely felt heartburn so never went to a doctor. I finally choked on something that was lodged in my esophagus. No food would go down. I could drink liquids, but only if I drank slowly and didn't gulp. I had an endoscopic exam and it was discovered my esophagus was so tight they couldn't even get a pediatric dilator down. They gave up and put me on liquid Zantac for two weeks. Then they went in again and were able to dislodge the food (it was a sliver of nut) and partially dilate. They didn't want to fully dilate for concern of tearing my esophagus. They waited another several weeks and then dilated the remainder.

- What medication(s) were you put on to help control the reflux?
Liquid Zantac at the very beginning. Than prilosec until insurance stopped covering it. Now Nexium, which insurance still covers. I just started suffering from very bad acid recently and Nexium doesn't seem to do the job. My gastro doctor, whom had been good until now, just wants me to take a second Nexium at night. I'm going back to by regular doctor and may ask for a second gastro doctor for another opinion.

- How severe is/was the stricture? Could you still eat solid foods? Problems swallowing liquid?
See above. It was actually a ring so the top part of the esophagus wasn't tightened. The gastro doctor said it was one of the tightest strictures he had seen.

- If you had an endoscopy / dilation procedure, did you learn you also had barret's esophegus?
NO. The choking/dilation occurred in 1999. He has been concerned about me getting Barret's since. Since my reflux had been silent until recently, I have been taking PPIs since then just to avoid something like Barret's.

- Have you had multiple dilation procedures, or did one seem to take care of it?
The first time took several.

A year later he went in again to check and it was fine. He went in last month and discovered that strictures had started again -- one dilation took care of it.

- Have you experienced esophegeal spasms? If so, what did they feel like?
No

- Do you have a hiatal hernia with your reflux? If so, are there any strange symptoms or sensations associated with it?
Yes, and no.

I'm sorry to hear about your kids. I have a brother who is 10 years younger. He looks like me and has a lot of the same health issues as I have. Last time I saw him I noticed he choked on something. I've been encouraging him to see a doctor.

Good luck with your next procedure. Hopefully it will go better.

thegrimmsleeper
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 10/26/2005 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks for the reply. It's actually somewhat encouraging. I had the same problem during my first stricture, they couldn't get the probe down. This was an adult sized probe, though; I believe they're going to use the pedi probe this time and sedate me completely so I don't wake up. They used the twilight inducing stuff the first time, but it's never had much of an effect on me. Every time I've been given it, I have woken up... wisdom teeth, esophegus, whatever. But this is such a bizarre condition, so it's encouraging to know others have had it, and just as bad if not worse, although I wish no one had to deal with it. I'm just anxious to get the scope done and over with and go back to eating normal food in public. I miss my hot dogs!

Sharinginfo
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/19/2008 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   

Just wanted to say that 15 years ago, I was bleeding some from my esophegus.  After that, I was on Prilosec or the like, for 10 years.  After talking to a Dr. friend of mine and trying EVERYTHING! else, I tried something really crazy.  For three weeks, I did not have any carbonated drinks at all, none of any kind.  Of course, I didn't want to do this because, everyone loves a little pop or at least seltzer water or something!  It's the American way!  But I was desperate.

My reflux got significantly better. After a month, I was completely off medication and have not taken any in 5 years.  I do have flare ups once in a while.  I drink milk and keep my head elevated and they go away.  Sounds too simple, but that's what happenned.  If I have even one drink in a month, there is a difference.  If I do get a flare up, it's generally due to overeating too close to bedtime. 

When I got sick, I had a very hectic lifestyle with a lot of stress, eating at irregular times, fast food and eating late at night.  I didn't over do it on sodas but it appears that a little was very bad for me for some reason. 

I'm having a little trouble again (a little trouble swallowing at times) and after reading some blogs I'm going to see a ENT and then get other opinions.

I also woke up several times during my initial endoscopy 15 years ago and I will demand general next time because I would rather be dead than go through that again.  Shame on those incompetent doctors who are not properly sedating and acting like it's no big deal if a patient wakes up.  It's horrible traumatic leading some to post-traumatic stress disorder. 

God bless those who are seeking help!


marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 6/19/2008 5:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I had heartburn on and off for while and went on Nexium. about 4 years ago, I started occasionally having trouble getting meat and/or bread to go down if I bit off huge chunks of it. I could feel it sort of getting stuck. This happened rarely, but got worse over a lengthy period of time. One day I was in a restaurant and something got stuck right in my chest. Had to call the paramedics! ACK! It finally passed down. Time went on. Then I got some ham stuck. Panicked again. Went to doc...went to gastro who went in and found a Schatzi's ring. Dilated it. All was well and easy. No problems.

Cut to two years later. Start getting food stuck again. Go back to gastro guy. He's on vacation so partner agrees to dilate me again. Says he will use biggest one they have. Wake up and have a ton of chest pain. They tell me it is gas and send me home. Pain gets worse during the night--I know it is not gas. Call doc...he sends me to ER. After a bunch of tests they determine is my esophagus spasming from being dilated too much. I honest to god think I will die from the pain. They try all kinds of IV pain meds. Finally one lets me sleep.

I go home and the hell begins. For some reason, this dilation gives me a severe case of GERD. I also cannot swallow. I can only drink liquids. I lose 40 pounds over 6 months. I live on Slim-Fast. This was last December. I still do no coffee, tea, soda or alcohol. No tomatoes. On a GERD diet. Only red meat is hamburger. Only liquids are milk and water. Only 2% milk, no skim.

Also develop a bizarre case of "burning mouth syndrome". (Don't ask).

Currently, my bad GERD symptoms are stuff backing up, a dry cough, and feeling full all the time. I've had a ton of other symptoms..some were agony.

Yes, I have a hiatal hernia, but mine has caused no trouble. They did a biopsy of my esophagus and said it was fine so I guess no Barrett's.

Good luck. I will say things are much better for me than they were after my dilation, but what a mess! It took a long time for my esophagus to heal.
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