I am getting fod stuck in my esophagus frequently, is it a serious problem?
Hello, I am twenty one years old. Three days ago I was eating bread and the food got stuck in my esophagus. I was still able to breathe but had some difficult breathing. The next day I tried to eat some solid food and the same thing happened. It has happened everyday since so I am growing a little bit concerned. My grandpa did have esophagus cancer. So I just want to make sure that this is not a problem. I am still going to go to my family doctor sometime next week. Thank you!
Food getting stuck in the esophagus is certainly a serious problem and needs to be addressed on an urgent basis by a gastroenterologist, a specialist in treating diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. There are many different causes of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), including many benign processes as well as malignant processes like esophageal cancer. In someone of your young age, esophageal cancer would be extremely rare. The more common causes of dysphagia in someone of your age include enlarged mucosal rings (which narrow the area within the esophagus) or a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis. Eosinophilic esophagitis is a condition that is being recognized more and more over the recent decade. It is essentially an allergic condition of the esophagus and tends to affect people with a history of other allergic conditions like asthma, eczema and food allergies. In this condition, the esophagus develops a ringed appearance that can hinder the passage of solid food into the stomach. Fortunately, many people respond to either acid reflux medication or swallowed topical steroids which decrease the inflammation in the esophagus. You should consult with a gastroenterologist who can perform an upper endoscopy, a procedure in which a long scope with a camera at the end is inserted through the mouth and into the esophagus. The doctor can examine the inside of the esophagus, take biopsies, and dilate any narrowed areas that may be causing your symptoms.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.