Thickening of lower end of oesophagus

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I have had problems with severe pain on eating and drinking for the past 7 months and have had treatment for gastritis and 2 weeks ago I had my gallbladder removed. After the operation I developed serious acid reflux which progressively got worse and alongside the difficulties eating and drinking landed me in hospital a week ago. Today I had a ct scan which revealed a thickening of the lower end of my oesophagus. I am in pain now day and night and pain killers not that effective. Pain radiates through from front to back between shoulder blades and keeps me awake at night. I now need an endoscopy to determine what the thickening is and I am really worried that it is something sinister. CT scan sword everything else to be normal. I'm on 80mg Omeprazole a day in two doses and 600mg of Ranitidine and I feel terrible with the side effects. The acid reflux settled to some extent in about 3 days but the pain is no better and I'm losing weight because I can't eat. As I'm in hospital the endoscopy will probably take place over the next couple of days but I'm worried sick as to what they will find. Does anyone know what thickening of the oesophagus means in association with my other symptoms. Looking for some kind of reassurance.

Thanks in anticipation of any replies.

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Debbie, based on my own problems I would suggest that what you might be experiencing is some kind of oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus). The common cause of reflux and by extension oesophagitis is the 'valve' between your stomach and oesophagus, known as the oesophageal sphincter, which is a band which is supposed to prevent acid reaching the oesophagus whilst allowing food to pass, like a one way valve.

    When it doesn't do its job, acid gets through, damaging the oesophagus lining, causing inflammation over time. This 'valve' is located at the lower end of the oesophagus, therefore it's reasonable to assume inflammation will start here then spread if not contained (my current situation, I suffer from oesophagitis and have pain daily). This could be the cause of your thickening, and would fit with your reflux and dysphagia (swallowing difficulty/pain).

    This is the most common cause as far as I know, but there are similar issues which can cause problems in the oesophageal area, and I'm no expert, just a guy in lots of pain who unfortunately can't tolerate the usual drugs like those you are on just now. So, I can't guarantee I'm correct but I'd say there's a good chance of it.

    I hope this is useful information.

    I wish you luck with your forthcoming examination and any resultant treatment.

    Kind regards,

    Al

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    • Posted

      Many thanks for the very useful information, it is very reassuring - at least to a certain extent, I'm sorry that you are in so much pain which I can more than sympathise with. I really don't tolerate the Omeprazole as it makes me feel tired and generally unwell, but feel I have little choice at the moment - they don't appear to be doing anything either, although maybe it's early days.

      Many thanks for the info and best wishes

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  • Posted

    Hi debbie;  yes, the Thickening is probably as a result of lots of scar tissue, following on from ulcers caused by reflux.  If there is too much thickening and the osephagus is too narrow, thay may try and widen it during the Endoscopy....put another tube through the scope to Stretch the osephagus, which should help you to restart eating simple foods??  You should ask the Medical/nursing staff what they plan to do/what is happening, seeing as how you are in hospital....you, as the patient/client are allowed to ask ALL questions about what is happening, and they are bound by law to tell you....so please ask them when they next do their daily rounds.   Hope all goes well for you....regards    Bron
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  • Posted

    Hi Debbie:  I'm sorry to hear about all this pain you are experiencing.  It sounds like the current pain you are describing could be esophageal damage due to acid reflux.   But, the opposite could also be true, that the acid reflux is caused by esophageal damage.  My esophagus was damaged by using a steroidal nasal allergy spray.  It got enlarged and the sphincter could not close properly.  You may have taken some drug that caused damage or perhaps multiple endoscopies irritated it.  But, once you start taking acid blockers you will likely find it difficult to get off them.  I stopped using the steroidal nasal spray once I discovered it was the culprit.  But, it took a few months to get some relief.  Now I am strengthening my esophageal sphincter by drinking orange flavored carbonated water and then holding back the burp for about 3 minutes, then doing it again.  Do this twice or more a day.  I discovered this exercise after doing some research and finding that there was no information on strengthening the esophageal sphincter.  I do know that living with a weak esophageal sphincter is very miserable.  I hope this information is helpful.  Regards, John
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    • Posted

      Yes john, the exercises are interesting for all of those you suffer from GERD.....shall tell my husband, as he suffers same.    Thankyou...Bron
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    • Posted

      Please let me know if it helps reduce your husbands GERD.  I would like to know if helps others also.  John
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    • Posted

      Melatonin helps with healing of the esophageal sphincter, and the gut in general. Here's an except taken from a site I can't link to because of forum rules. Google "esophageal sphincter-melatonin" and follow your nose. A naturopath put me onto it.

      '''''''''''''''''''But there also is evidence that melatonin supplements also alleviate GERD symptoms. One possible reason: Melatonin has been found to reduce gastric acid secretion (although not to the degree of PPIs) and to normalize pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing it to close more effectively.''''''''''''''

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    • Posted

      Hi Mick

      Many thanks for that, I'll definitely look into Melatonin.

      Doctors now backtracking saying it maybe just oesophageal spasms despite the thickening seen on the ct scan in the area where the pain is. If the endoscopy doesn't reveal the reason for the pain then the thickening plus symptoms will be ignored. They are trying the angina med, gtn spray under the tongue as it is supposed to help the spasms - will have to see whether it works.

      Debbie

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  • Posted

    Hi John and Bron

    Many thanks for your helpful replies which are somewhat reassuring, at least away from more sinister causes, although clearly having something like this is not the most enviable position to be in, as its a nasty complaint.

    I'm really not happy about being on such high doses of stomach tablets but can't do anything about it at the moment, I would hope that in time I would be able at least drop to a more modest dose.

    Don't much like the sound of them widening my oesophagus with a balloon due to the pain, in fact I'm terrified of the endoscopy because of the levels of pain - although I'm not frightened of the procedure itself as I've had it done before.

    The exercises to strengthen the oesophageal are something I still definitely consider, once the pain is under control.

    My endoscopy is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, just wish it was today as my mind is working overtime.

    Best wishes

    Debbie

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  • Posted

    Hi debbie;  if you feel concerned re any pain, talk to you docs re this too, as they can give you a Neurolept, which works really well in cases like this....it's a drug that relaxes you enough to co-operate with the doc who is doing the Endoscopy, but you don't rememeber any of it (even if there is ? pain)....I had to have a Blood Patch once, and after it was all over, the doc asked me how I was, and if I felt anything, I hadn't, and he replied that I "had winced at one stage"....but did not remember/feel anything, and still don't to this day (regarding the blood patch i.e.)...we used to use them even for children in re-setting easy breaks, so that they did not develope a phobia re ED....ask the doc re what he thinks..tell him you are nervous, as we all don't like the thought of any procedures...we're all human, and let us know your results......Bron

     

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  • Posted

    BY NOW I HOPE THINGS HAVE SETTLED DOWN.

    I WAS TOLD ALL SORTS OF THINGS ABOUT SAME PROBLEM ALTHOUGH THIS WAS NOT RELATED IN ANYWAY TO GALL BLADDER.

    DURING GALLBLADDER OP THERE IS A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF GAS WHICH HAS TO GO IN AND THIS CAN CAUSE EXTREME PAIN[THATS IF YOU HAD LAPAROSCOPY AND NOT OPEN SURGERY] THIS PAIN WAS SO INTENSE AFTER MY DAUGHTER HAD IT[SAME PLACE AS YOU] THEY GAVE PEPERMENT WATER CO-CODAMOL WHEN THAT DIDNT WORK GAVE HER MORPHINE IT WAS REALLY TERRIBLE BUT EVENTUALLY SETTLED.

    NOW FOR THE OESOPHAGUS I WILL NOT GO ON ABOUT THIS TOO MUCH AS IVE ALREADY COVERED THIS SUBJECT BEFORE. HAD A NASTY ANTIBIOTIC CALLED FLAGYL GIVEN LAST YEAR APRIL AND BECAME SO ILL I THOUGHT I WAS DYING IT WASNT UNTIL A NEW G.P SENT ME FOR AN ENDOSCOPY IT FOUND STOMACH POLYPS ACID REFLUX BUT THIS WAS NOT THE CAUSE. ANTIBIOTIC DESTROYED ALL THE GOOD BACTERIA FROM GUT AND IT HAS ALMOST TAKEN A YEAR TO GET BACK TO SOME NORMALITY! BUT DURING ALL THIS I WAS SENT TO AND E.N.T GUY WHO SENT ME FOR BARUIM SWALLOW AND FINE NEEDLE BIOPSY FOLLOWED BY C.T. SCAN OF THYROID HE THEN IN TURN SENT ME TO SEE A CONSULTANT WHO SPECIALIZES IN THYROID PROBLEMS AND SHE DIAGNOSED THYROID IS WRAPPED ROUND OESPHAGUS TRAPPING FOUND AND MAKING SWALLOWING VERY DIFFICULT ALSO THIS WAS FINALLY SHOWN TO BE THE CAUSE OF ACID REFLUX.

    IAM WAITING NOW FOR SURGERY TO HAVE THYROID REMOVED.

    THIS OF COURSE I HOPE WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU BUT I TELL ANYONE OUT THERE IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM AND YOU KNOW HOW BAD IT IS DO NOT GIVE UP BY SWALLOWING EVERYTHING THEY GIVE TO YOU DEMAND A SECOND OPINION AFTER ALL IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE.

    GOOD LUCK

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    • Posted

      Yes Beth; it proves what many of us say....when YOU know something's not right, perservere until you get the answer that is Right....and I hope that you get through your surgery well, and have all the support that you need/deserve, as by putting yourself through so much, and letting others know of what/where/there are other answers, you deserve it.    good luck...Bron
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  • Posted

    Omg just got out of hospital for same thing scared to death I have all but one symptom of cancer I pray it's not trying to stay positive I have to wait a week

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