Health Problems and Disorders in Esophagus

The esophagus is a muscular tube that moves the food from the back of throat to stomach (see picture right). The common health problems and disorders in esophagus include dysphagia, esophagitis, esophageal stricture, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal spasm, esophageal motility disorder, esophageal varices and esophageal cancer. Details and information of the disorders are as follows:


Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) means it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach.

Signs and symptoms associated with dysphagia may include:

  • Having pain while swallowing (odynophagia)
  • Being unable to swallow
  • Having the sensation of food getting stuck in your throat or chest or behind your breastbone (sternum)
  • Drooling
  • Being hoarse
  • Bringing food back up (regurgitation)
  • Having frequent heartburn
  • Having food or stomach acid back up into your throat
  • Unexpectedly losing weight
  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing
  • Having to cut food into smaller pieces or avoiding certain foods because of trouble swallowing


Esophagitis is inflammation that may damage tissues of the esophagus. It can cause painful, difficult swallowing and chest pain.

For more information, please visit our article Causes of Esophagitis

Esophageal stricture

A benign esophageal stricture is a narrowing or tightening of the esophagus (food pipe). “Benign” means that it is not caused by esophageal cancer.

For more information, please visit  What Is Esophageal Stricture?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a severe form of acid relux, which is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

For more information, please visit  What Is Acid Reflux or GERD?

Barrett’s esophagus

Barrett esophagus is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (food pipe) is damaged by stomach acid.

For more information, please visit  What is Barrett’s Esophagus

Esophageal varices

Esophageal varices are abnormal, enlarged veins in the food pipe. This condition occurs most often in people with serious liver diseases.

For more information, please visit What Are Esophageal Varices?

Esophageal spasms

Esophageal spasms are abnormal contractions of the muscles in the esophagus. There are two types of esophageal spasms:
Occasional contractions (diffuse esophageal spasms).
Painfully strong contractions (nutcracker esophagus).

For more information, please visit  Basic Information of Esophageal Spasms

Achalasia or Esophageal motility disorder

Achalasia is a type of esophageal motility disorder. It is the inability of the esophagus to move food into the stomach.

For more information, please visit  What Is Achalasia or Esophageal Motility Disorder?

Esophageal cancer

Esophageal cancer is a cancer that occurs in the esophagus. It occurs when cells in the esophagus develop mutations in their DNA.

For more information, please visit  Basic Information of Esophageal Cancer



Keywords: disorders in esophagus

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.