Posted by: WORRIED | 2010-06-01


I am very worried as I have been told by my doctor that I have a narrowing and thickening of my oesophagus which is contributing to my breathing problems. I have never suffered from relux as far as I know never got heartburn or very seldom etc etc but he says acid is splashing up into my throat.
Will it become narrower and narrower till it closes up and I choke and food wont get through it sounds life threatening.. I need to see a gastro person he said . Why did I get this? It is also a pre- cursor to cancer I hear OF THE THROAT.If I lose weight will that help. I dont smoke gave it up 16 years ago.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Worried

The oesophagus is behind your trachea (airpipe), and will not contribute to breathing problems, as the two are not connected.
Untreated reflux may however cause damage to both, such as narrowing of the oesophagus, and hoarseness of the voice. In some cases the patients may develope asthma. Up to 51% of patients may suffer from "silent" reflux, which means you are not aware of it, as it mostly occurs at night. The gastroenterologist will perform a scope of the stomach and oesophagus to establish the possibility of the disease, as well as the degree of damage. This is a very treatable disease, but should not be ignored.
Reflux does not cause cancer, but in the presence of cancer to the upper airway, we know that the uncontrolled disease may possibly contribute to recurrent problems. Smoking and alcohol are the two main risk factors for developing cancers of the upper airway. Losing weight may reduce your reflux and will be beneficial for your general health status if you are currently overweight.


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