Esophageal disorders affect the esophagus, which is the part of the gastrointestinal tract that helps food, water, and saliva move from your mouth to your stomach. These conditions may be present at birth or developed later on in life, and are generally characterized by heartburn and difficulty swallowing. Symptoms may also include chest pain, sore throat, a feeling that there is a lump in your throat, chronic cough, and/or unintentional weight loss.
It is important to note that not all of these symptoms indicate an esophageal disorder. Some are present with heartburn, which many people experience on occasion and is not cause for alarm. This makes it important to seek professional treatment for an accurate diagnosis. Some of the most common esophageal disorders include:
- Achalasia – When damage of the esophageal nerves reduces an individual’s ability to swallow
- Esophageal cancer – When cancer cells occur in the esophagus, usually in the lining of the lower portion
- Esophageal motility disorders – A spectrum of disorders that impair the ability of the esophagus to move food to the stomach
- Esophageal strictures – The narrowing of the esophagus, resulting in difficulty swallowing
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – The reflux of stomach acid or food content from the stomach back into the esophagus
- Barrett’s esophagus – A complication of GERD where the esophagus tissue begins to resemble intestinal tissue
Treatments for esophageal disorders depend on the specific condition. Tampa General Hospital uses the most advanced technology to diagnose and treat esophageal disorders. Our experienced staff has helped TGH receive recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery.