What Is Tortuous Esophagus?

According to doctors at HealthTap, a tortuous oesophagus is when the oesophagus doesn’t curve in a normal way between the mouth and the stomach. A common cause of an oesophagus that is hard to swallow is a hiatal hernia.

Dr. Oelschlager of Gastroenterology & Hepatology says that a tortuous oesophagus can also be caused by a misalignment or change in the way the oesophagus connects to the stomach at the diaphragm. The oesophagus is a straight pipe in a healthy person. So, HealthTap says, having a tortuous oesophagus that makes the pipe twist, bend, and narrow can be very painful.

HealthTap says that a tortuous oesophagus is often caused by a hiatal hernia, but it is also common in older people who don’t have a hernia. This kind of hernia happens when part of the stomach pushes through a hole or weak spot in the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This can also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, say HealthTap and MedlinePlus.

According to the Division of General Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, an oesophagus with a lot of twists can make it hard to do other surgeries, like a partial fundoplication, which is usually done after a laparoscopic Heller myotomy, which is a surgery in which the esophageal muscle is cut.

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