Causes Of Scratched Esophagus: Symptoms And Remedies To Heal It

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.


  1. Limon said:

    My daughter got choked on a piece of peppermint tonight and it went pretty far down her throat. My husband stuck his finger in her mouth to do the scoop motion but it was too far. But luckily she gaged and it pushed the candy up just far enough to get his finger around it and get it out. During this process he scratched the inside of her esophagus and then she started to vomit and for first three times she vomited there was blood all in it.

    She then stopped vomiting for a min and then began coughing again and vomited again but this time there was no blood just what she had eaten earlier. All night she has awake, tossing and turning and crying because her throat was hurting. She even started coughing so bad she vomited again but it was white and bubbly. What should I do? Will this heal on its own or should I take her to the doctor? My daughter is only 23 months old.

    May 22, 2016
    • Dr. Mia said:

      Vomiting blood at any age due to an esophageal tear is cause to call 911 and go to the ER immediately. Repeated vomiting and retching can cause additional tears in the esophagus, which may lead to a ruptured esophagus. Waiting at home will only worsen the condition of the patient. A perforated esophagus, called Boerhaave’s Syndrome, is a life-threatening condition and this is why you should go the ER.

      In a hospital, doctors will prescribe medication to stop the vomiting. A gastroenterologist can also look inside the esophagus using a camera in a procedure called endoscopy. If there is active bleeding from a tear in the esophagus, the tear can be cauterized to stop the bleeding during the endoscopy. Always consult a doctor and go the ER when in doubt. Every case is different, but the one thing we all doctors have in common is we cannot perform miracles. Don’t wait until it is too late for us to help.

      May 6, 2017
  2. Cynthia said:

    I swallowed a pill and it went down the wrong way and almost had to do the Heimlich maneuver on myself. I had to go to the clinic for very sore throat. Doctor Said I have scratched my esophagus area and caused an ulcer to form. Now my ears are hurting as well. Very sore at night. What should I do?

    September 11, 2016
  3. Schun said:

    After 6 weeks of my gall bladder removal my food pipe started hurting weirdly, like I had a wound which was confirmed by my ENT doctor. During the surgery a plastic flexible tube was put through my throat into my stomach. I believe that during insertion it has injured the walls of my throat and now there is a wound. My ENT doctor has prescribed me Serodase, Antibiotic, Omeprazole and Diclofenac tablets. Please let me know if this line of treatment is correct?

    June 1, 2017
  4. Victoria said:

    I forced myself to vomit for the first time a few weeks back and I have only done it few times before that. I noticed a little bit of blood in the vomit and I also coughed and spit a little bit of red colored blood. I have a little bit of irritation and a burning feeling in my throat but it is mostly only when I swallow. I am trying to recover on my own and I really don’t want to tell my parents. What should I do? Is just ignoring it and trying not to eat aggravating foods alright or I need to see a doctor?

    June 21, 2017
  5. Janet said:

    I do not know if I have scratched my esophagus because this has happened multiple times to me, but it is only when I swallow. I don’t have bloody vomit, coughing, or anything like that. What do you think?

    June 28, 2017
  6. Saima said:

    I ate walnuts and had some tea afterwards. I woke up 2 am in the morning having a some pain in the throat. I didn’t know what happen but it seem like that something has stuck in my throat. It was a very uncomfortable feeling. It has been 8 days today and I feel little better. I think I injured my esophagus. Anyone can help me or guide me through it. I will appreciate that.

    October 22, 2017
  7. Anne said:

    I accidentally swallowed a whole tortilla chip. It went down but I could feel it scratching my throat. It has been five weeks and I have progressively been getting a worse sore throat accompanied by headaches, chills and sore neck. Tests show nothing but elevated CRP level. Thyroid tests are also good. Could a scratched throat take this long to heal or get worse? Will an ultrasound find scratches?

    November 26, 2017

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