The esophagus is a hollow tube which connects mouth with the stomach. Food and fluids from mouth passes through esophagus into the stomach. Esophagus is relatively less prone to get injured. However, sometimes the lining of esophagus can be damaged due to back flow of acid from the stomach in reflux esophagitis or it may get scratched by accidental ingestion of pointed objects which is mainly possible in children.
A fish bone and other sharp edged foods may also damage the lining if they are not chewed properly. Scratches and scars in esophagus may also occur by accidental and intentional ingestion of either acids or alkali.These are more devastating type of injury.
Certain drugs such as NSAID’s and severe pressure can cause harm to the esophagus. The lining of esophagus can be torn due to pressure caused while forceful vomiting. Scratched esophagus in medical terminology is also referred as esophageal erosion.
Symptoms Of Scratched Esophagus
- Injury and scratches or erosion in esophagus can cause extreme discomfort for the patient. One of the main features is pain which is beneath the breast bone or the entire length of esophagus.
- The pain is typically burning and sharp. It is typically what people refer as heartburn. It usually occurs in acid reflux disease, where due to weak esophageal sphincter the acid from the stomach flows back into the lower end of esophagus. Stomach acid causes gradual erosion leading to burning pain. Heartburn usually occurs one hour after eating meals.
- Scratch in esophagus can cause inflammation around it. The tissues of esophagus may get swollen narrowing its passage. As a result, patient experiences difficulty while swallowing food and liquid. A scratch can occur at any area of the tube.
- Pain may increase while swallowing, or exercising, or even while coughing.
- Scratches can cause bleeding. Vomiting from stomach may contain trace of blood and severe cases there may be blood vomits. The stools may turn tarry black if small amount of blood leaks out from the scratch.
- In case if the scratch is too deep and causes perforation of esophagus, patient may faint.
Home Remedies To Heal Scratched Esophagus
Scratched esophagus is a painful condition. The treatment usually depends on the cause and the severity of injury to esophageal lining. Patient may need medical help in diagnosing the condition. The physician after taking medical history and physical examination is able to reach a probable diagnosis.
However, for ascertaining the problem he may recommend X-ray barium swallow and endoscopy. Once confirmed of scratched esophagus, treatment depends on the cause.
If the laceration is minor with mild inflammation around it, patient may require observation and conservative treatment which may consists of antacids and analgesic medicines and dietary changes.
Diet plays an important role in healing of esophageal wound. It consists more of avoiding certain foods which may worsen the symptoms. Foods that should be avoided are tea, coffee, spicy and oily food. Patient should also avoid citric fruits, chilies, tomato sauce, hot soups, etc. These foods increase the acid content in the stomach and cause more damage if it flows up in the esophagus as in case of reflux acid.
For few days patient may be recommended soft and liquid diet, which may consist of certain foods such as porridge, milk, buttermilk, rice, and many other types of bland food. The main aim is to restrict worsening of inflammation and encourage early healing.
Aloe vera is a natural substance which has immense healing powers. Aloe vera soothes the injury and reduces production of acid.
Uncomplicated food induced laceration in esophagus heals easily within few days; however, more severe cases may require medical management for a longer period of time. In some cases surgical intervention may be necessary.