Esophageal Disorders

If you or a loved one has a disorder affecting the esophagus (tube connecting the mouth to the stomach), even a simple meal can be uncomfortable or painful. At Henry Ford, our team of highly skilled experts has experience in diagnosing and treating all types of esophageal disorders.

Symptoms of esophageal disorders

Consult your physician if you have any of these common symptoms of esophageal disorders:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive burping
  • A burning sensation in the throat
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach contents flowing back into your throat

Diagnosing esophageal disorders

At Henry Ford, our experienced gastroenterologists use the latest, most advanced tests to quickly confirm an accurate diagnosis. These tests include:

  • A physical exam
  • Blood tests: Evaluation for possible allergies or other causes of esophageal disorders
  • Barium X-ray: A procedure using barium, a contrast material to highlight specific areas of the digestive tract, and X-rays to develop images that show abnormalities
  • Esophageal pH acidity test: A test that measures the amount of acid flowing from the stomach into your esophagus
  • Manometry test: A test that evaluates the strength and patterns of the esophageal muscles to assess how well your esophagus is working
  • Endoscopy: A minimally invasive procedure using an endoscope (thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera) to examine your esophagus, including its size, color and the texture of the lining. We use endoscopy to diagnose conditions including:

Henry Ford: Treatment for esophageal disorders

Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible results. Our experts provide a variety of advanced treatment options for esophageal disorders that we tailor to meet your specific needs.

Depending on the condition you have, we may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Prescription or over-the-counter medications
  • Lifestyle changes for a healthy diet

Our gastroenterologists (specialists in treating digestive disorders) have specialized training in advanced endoscopy procedures. During the same procedure, we can often examine the esophagus, diagnose the condition and treat it, using micro instruments. Examples of treatment include:

  • Reducing pain and muscle spasm with injections of botulinum toxin
  • Stretching the lower esophageal sphincter muscle in patients experiencing narrowing of their esophagus
  • Performing tissue biopsies (tissue samples to examine for signs of cancer)
  • Removing abnormal tissue in the damaged lining of the esophagus. Read about the BARRx system for Barrett’s esophagus.

Surgery for esophageal disorders

Surgery may be your best treatment option, depending on your unique case. To provide seamless, coordinated care, we work closely with our colleagues in General Surgery and the Cancer Center at Henry Ford.

Learn more about our education and support for people with esophageal disorders.

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