The oesophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Its role is to transport food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach for digestion through coordinated muscle contractions.
Oesophageal disorders are the ones causing issues in the processing of the transfer of food from the mouth to the stomach. These issues do not allow food and liquids to pass quickly, leading to a dozen health problems. These issues can be identified through health symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, stomachache, and chest pain.
Severe symptoms may include vomiting and blood while vomiting. Early detection of the symptoms can be lowered with the help of required medications, lifestyle and dietary changes, and an active lifestyle. But, in severe issues, one may need surgery to eliminate problems such as oesophagal cancer.
Causes and Risk Factors of Esophageal Disorders
Mentioned below are a few causes and risk factors of the disorder of the oesophagus leading to different health problems:
- Thickening of lower oesophagal lining– One of the significant causes of disorders in the oesophagus is the thickening of the pipe-like structure. In case of such issues, the individual suffers from chronic heartburn, acid reflux, stomachache, and difficulty in digestion.
- Autoimmune disorders– Though fewer facts prove it, autoimmune diseases have also been stated as one of the causes of it. Such issues lead to improper digestion, weak digestive systems, chronic acid reflux, and vomiting. In case of such problems, rushing for medical help should be the prime choice.
- Hike of White Blood Cells– A sudden spike of white blood cells in the oesophagus is also a cause of the oesophagal disorder. The condition leads to eosinophilic esophagitis. The individual suffering from it experiences discomfort in the chest, issues swallowing solids and liquids, and inflammation of the oesophagal lining.
- Tumours in the oesophagal lining– A rare but possible cause of the disorder is the formation of tumours in the oesophagal lining. It happens when chronic acid reflux and untreated conditions lead to oesophagal cancer. Surgery and different forms of therapy can help remove the tumours.
Types of Esophageal Disorders
Mentioned below are some forms of oesophagal disorders that help to decide the right line of treatment to lower the symptoms:
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder)
- Barrett’s Disease
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis
- Esophageal Cancer
Treatment Options for Esophageal Disorders
Mentioned below are a few oesophagal disorder treatment options that help to lower the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient:
- Medications– Medications to cure oesophagal issues is one of the prime lines of treatment. Antacids, H-2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are some of the non-prescribed medicines that help lower the disease’s initial symptoms, such as acid reflux, swelling of the oesophagus, or burning sensation in the throat and chest.
- Different types of H-2 receptor blockers are prescribed medicines by doctors that help lower the symptoms. Steroids such as budesonide and fluticasone help to treat eosinophilic esophagitis. A proper form of consuming medication allows one to get relief from drug-induced esophagitis.
- In case of such issues, a doctor may recommend using a liquid form of medicine, drinking a glass of water after taking the pill and standing or sitting after it to avoid the disorder. Specific antibodies helpful to avoid protein production in children and adults experiencing the disease are also prescribed by doctors. One such antibody given by doctors is Dupilumab.
- Surgery– Surgery is the last resort to cure esophageal disease. It helps to lower the symptoms and help improve the quality of life. Depending on the disorder type, different types of surgeries help reduce the symptoms. Fundoplication is a form of surgery that allows a patient when other conservative methods cannot lower the symptoms.
- The procedure involves wrapping the lower oesophagal sphincter with the stomach. It helps to strengthen the sphincter and avoid acid reflux in the oesophagus. It eventually lowers symptoms such as bloating, burning sensation in the throat and chest, and chest pain. Different therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy, also help lower the disease’s symptoms.
- Esophageal Dilation– The procedure involves the expansion of the oesophagal lining. It is done when food is stuck in the oesophagus and cannot proceed towards the stomach. It is done by inserting endoscopic devices in the oesophagus. The procedure is divided into different forms to narrow the oesophagal lining for passing food and other liquids.
- Esophageal Stent- A stent is a tube placed within a narrowed or obstructed area of the oesophagus to hold it open. This is particularly useful for relieving blockages caused by tumours or strictures.
- Oesophageal pH Monitoring- This test helps assess the severity of acid reflux by measuring the pH levels in the oesophagus over a period of time. It provides valuable information to guide treatment decisions.
- Allergy Testing and Elimination Diets- Healthcare providers may recommend allergy testing to identify specific food triggers for eosinophilic esophagitis management. Elimination diets involve removing allergenic foods to reduce inflammation.
- Chemotherapy and Radiation- In cases of oesophagal cancer, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumours before surgery or as the primary treatment for inoperable cases.
- Nutritional Support- In situations where swallowing is severely impaired, such as advanced oesophagal cancer or extreme strictures, feeding tubes may be inserted to provide nutrition directly into the stomach or small intestine.
- Lifestyle Changes– Positive lifestyle changes help lower the disease’s harsh symptoms. They play a vital role in improving life quality and making a patient resume routine activities. Mentioned below are a few lifestyle changes that help to lower the symptoms:
- Avoiding foods causing acid reflux
- Consume pills in the proper way as prescribed by doctors
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
- Keep the head elevated while sleeping
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gastroenterology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Oesophageal disorder treatment depends upon the type of disorder a patient suffers from. The line of treatment may include medication, surgeries, therapies, and lifestyle changes. Changes in diet and healthy lifestyle habits help lower oesophagus disease symptoms.
Q. What are oesophageal disorders?
A. Oesophagal disorders are the ones causing issues in the processing of the transfer of food from the mouth to the stomach. These issues do not allow food and liquids to pass quickly, leading to a dozen health problems.
Q. What are the risks associated with oesophagal disorders?
A. Common risks associated with oesophagal disorders include chronic pain or discomfort, difficulty swallowing, nutritional deficiencies, Barrett’s oesophagus leading to oesophagal cancer, and potential complications from treatment procedures.
Q. What are the oesophagal disorder treatment options?
A. Surgery, therapies, medications, and lifestyle changes are some treatment options that help lower the disease’s symptoms.
Q. What are the lifestyle changes that can help to lower oesophagal disorder symptoms?
A. Healthy lifestyle habits such as avoiding acid reflux foods, an active routine, and losing excess weight are helpful tips that help lower the symptoms.