Scleroderma of the Esophagus
Systemic scleroderma is an autoimmune
disorder, where the body mistakenly attacks itself, characterized
by thickening of the skin and formation of scar tissues on the
One of the symptoms of systemic scleroderma is abnormal functioning
of the smooth muscle of the esophagus, in a condition
called esophageal scleroderma or scleroderma
of the esophagus.
Symptoms of Esophageal Scleroderma
The symptoms of scleroderma of the esophagus are:
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling of food stuck in the throat
- Chest pain
- Weight loss and malnutrition
Acid reflux is a particularly common symptom
of esophageal scleroderma. Over time, the smooth muscle of the
lower esophagus loses its ability to contract and stomach acid
seeps into the esophagus.
Esophageal Scleroma Diagnosis
Your doctor would perform the following tests:
Signs: abnormality in the tone and function of the smooth muscle
in the lower esophagus and damage in its lining due to acid
Signs: weakened contractions in the lower sphincter of the esophagus.
- Radionuclide transit test
Treatment of Scleroderma of the Esophagus
There is no cure for systemic scleroderma – instead, the
treatment focus is to reduce the risks of acid reflux from damaging
- Eating small meals frequently, rather than a single large
- Standing or sitting up for 1 to 3 hours after eating to keep
stomach content and stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus.
- Avoiding things that can aggravate acid reflux, such as eating
spicy and fatty food, as well as drinking alcohol and caffeine.
- Chewing food well
- Taking heartburn medications, including proton pump inhibitors
to reduce stomach acid formation.