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Esophageal Dilation



An esophageal dilation is a procedure used to widen a narrowed section of your esophagus. This is the tube that leads from your throat to your stomach. Narrowing (stricture) of the esophagus can cause problems. These include trouble swallowing. This sheet explains what to expect with esophageal dilation.


Several problems can be treated with esophageal dilation. They include:

  • Peptic stricture. This is caused by reflux esophagitis. With this problem, the esophagus is irritated by acid reflux (heartburn). This occurs when acid from your stomach flows back up into the esophagus. Stomach acid damages the lining of the esophagus. This leads to a buildup of scar tissue. As a result, the esophagus is narrowed.

  • Schatzki’s ring. This is an abnormal ring of tissue. It forms where the esophagus meets the stomach. It can cause trouble swallowing. It can also cause food to get stuck in the esophagus. The cause of this condition is not known.

  • Achalasia. This condition stops food and liquids from moving into your stomach from the esophagus. It affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a muscular ring that opens (relaxes) when you swallow. With achalasia, the LES does not relax. This condition can also cause problems with peristalsis. This is the normal muscular action of the esophagus that moves food into the stomach.

  • Eosinophilic esophagitis. This is a redness and swelling (inflammation) in the esophagus. It is caused by an environmental trigger such as a food allergy. It can lead to pain, trouble swallowing, and strictures.

  • Less common causes of stricture. Other causes of stricture include radiation treatment and cancer.


Please call your provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C)

  • Chest pain

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

  • Bleeding

  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools

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