Schatzki Ring – Symptoms, Cause, Diagnosis & Treatment
What to know about a Schatzki ring?
A constriction of the lower esophagus called a Schatzki ring can lead to dysphagia. Dysphagia is a medical term for trouble swallowing. Approximately 3% of the population has dysphagia, which is a rather common condition. Small tissue folds that make up the Schatzki ring partially block the esophagus, causing dysphagia. In asymptomatic individuals, the Schatzki ring was originally discovered in 1944. It bears Richard Schatzki’s name, a physician who made the initial observation. A Schatzki ring is one of the main reasons why adults with dysphagia of solid foods and esophageal impaction are affected.
What is a hiatal hernia with a Schatzki ring?
Hiatal hernias, which happen when a portion of the stomach shifts from where it typically rests in the belly and enters the chest cavity, are linked to nearly all Schatzki rings. The most typical kind, known as type 1, is a sliding hiatal hernia, which can cause esophageal discomfort from the rise in stomach acid reflux. A sliding hiatal hernia-related gastric ulcers reflux that causes esophageal irritation over time may lead to the development of a Schatzki ring.
Schatzki ring symptoms
The majority of persons with a Schatzki ring frequently don’t have any symptoms. Those who do occasionally experience problems swallowing solid foods. After swallowing, you could occasionally get the sensation of food sticking in your chest. Food can frequently be regurgitated. Sometimes food fragments might become lodged in the esophagus, resulting in a blockage and excruciating chest pain. Meat that hasn’t been chewed all the way through frequently causes this sensation. Some people call it “steakhouse syndrome.” Additionally, heartburn is a common symptom in people who use Schatzki rings.
What causes Schatzki ring?
In 6 to 14% of regular barium swallowing examinations, a Schatzki ring was discovered to be present. The Schatzki ring is the thin section of the esophagus that contributes to symptoms. The Schatzki ring’s diameter has a significant impact on the symptoms. Dysphagia episodes are often more frequent with smaller-diameter rings than with larger-diameter rings. What specifically causes a Schatzki ring to form is unknown to doctors. Schatzki ring formation may be brought on by gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. A Schatzki ring is common in individuals who also experience acid reflux. Furthermore, individuals with a Schatzki ring frequently have disorders such a hiatal hernia, which can result in reflux illness.
Is a Schatzki ring hereditary?
Typically, a Schatzki ring is nonhereditary, meaning that it is not typically passed down from parents to children. However, underlying conditions like Barrett’s esophagus and GERD may have a hereditary component.
Diagnosing a Schatzki ring
Your doctor might start by requesting some information from you on your dysphagia. Several instances include:
- How does trying to swallow make you feel?
- What kinds of foods are difficult for you to swallow? Solids, liquids, or both?
- Are there any further signs or symptoms related to your swallowing issues?
- Signs of a Schatzki ring include the sensation of food being trapped in your throat and trouble swallowing solid foods
Your doctor could decide to undergo an endoscopy if they think your esophagus is narrowing. Your doctor will insert a tiny tube with a camera into your esophagus during this operation. This enables the physician to examine the esophageal tissue and may assist in identifying the Schatzki ring or other structure that may be the source of the dysphagia. Additionally, a barium swallow might be done. You ingest drinks and a tablet containing a barium contrast for this test. An X-ray will show the dye coating the lining of your esophagus. The images produced by the X-ray can then be used by your doctor to check for the presence of a Schatzki ring in your esophagus.
Schatzki ring treatment
The esophagus of patients with Schatzki rings is balloon dilated as part of their treatment. In this method, the Schatzki ring’s diameter is manually increased using a tool with a little balloon attached to its end. Usually, symptoms start to lessen soon after the dilation process. Acid suppression therapy alone or in combination with balloon dilation has also been demonstrated to be beneficial in reducing symptoms, which is consistent with the relationship between the presence of a Schatzki ring and GERD.
Changes to eating patterns
Eating slowly and properly before swallowing is crucial if you have a Schatzki ring because this condition frequently makes it difficult to swallow solid foods. Taking fewer bites per meal could also be beneficial. A food blockage of the esophagus may also be prevented by altering the foods you eat to avoid ingesting large or rough objects.
What information is most crucial to understand about a Schatzki ring?
A Schatzki ring is a tissue ring that develops in the lower esophagus that causes the esophagus’ lumen to shrink, which can make it difficult to swallow. Although no one knows the precise cause of a Schatzki ring, experts think that hiatal hernias, GERD, and Barrett’s esophagus may all be connected. While the majority of people with Schatzki rings remain asymptomatic, those who do typically struggle to swallow, feel as though food is caught in their chest after swallowing, have heartburn, and regurgitate food. A detailed discussion of the symptoms and, if necessary, additional testing go into the diagnosis. Balloon dilation may be used in treatment to increase the Schatzki ring’s diameter. The use of proton pump inhibitor medications may be advised if acid reflux is also present.
Outlook for a Schatzki ring
The most common reason for individuals who have trouble swallowing solid foods is a Schatzki ring, which is a constriction of the lower esophagus. Schatzki rings frequently have no symptoms. Symptoms typically show up when a Schatzki ring has a tiny diameter. These signs consist of:
- Having trouble swallowing solid foods
- Experiencing a sensation that food is stuck in your chest
To check for a Schatzki ring, your doctor may conduct an examination that entails an endoscopy, a barium swallow, or both procedures. A balloon dilation procedure that increases the Schatzki ring’s diameter can reduce symptoms. The effectiveness of acid suppression therapy has also been demonstrated.
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