Conditions of the Esophagus, Swallowing Disorders

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Trusted To Treat Swallowing Disorders for More Than 30 Years

Norton Healthcare’s gastroenterology team has been treating conditions of the esophagus and swallowing disorders for patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana for more than 30 years.

Our board-certified and fellowship trained specialists will work with you to address the source of your difficulty swallowing and develop a customized treatment plan to ease your symptoms before you experience long-term effects.

Experience Treating Swallowing Disorders

Our gastroenterologists have access to a full range of treatment options for swallowing disorders.

Many patients are successfully treated with medication or by learning physical techniques to improve swallowing. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. We’ll work with the thoracic surgeons at Norton Heart & Vascular Institute to get your recovery started.

Esophageal cancer is treated in a multidisciplinary manner with the specialists at Norton Cancer Institute. Norton Cancer Institute specialists provide leading-edge care and are principal investigators on numerous emerging treatments in clinical trials.

Swallowing disorders and conditions of the esophagus include:

  • Achalasia – This is a rare condition in which the muscle at the end of the esophagus stays closed during swallowing and prevents food from entering the stomach.
  • Barrett’s esophagus – This occurs when acid irritation causes new, abnormal cells to grow in the lining of the esophagus. Barret’s esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer in a small number of patients.
  • Esophageal cancer – If abnormal cells grow in your esophagus, they can form tumors and spread to nearby parts of your body.
  • Esophagitis This inflammation of the esophagus lining can be caused by stomach acid. It also can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), vomiting, medications such as aspirin and environmental sources such as viruses.
  • GERDWhen stomach contents, including acid, leak backward into the esophagus, the result is heartburn and sometimes a taste of acid in the back of the mouth. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week can be considered GERD.

We use a range of tests to evaluate the health of your esophagus.

These include upper endoscopy (esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD). An EGD allows your physician to visually examine the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. A flexible tube with a camera at the end is threaded down the esophagus while you are sedated, but conscious.

The EGD can evaluate upper digestive disorders such as heartburn, ulcers, abdominal pain and gastroparesis.

An EGD also is used for Bravo tests that measure pH levels in the esophagus. The Bravo test uses a small transmitter, about the size of a gelcap, placed in your esophagus during an EGD. When you notice certain symptoms of GERD, you’ll press a button on a small receiver. Data collected by the Bravo test will be used as part of your diagnosis.

We use esophageal manometry to collect information about how food moves through your esophagus and into your stomach. Called motility, a wave of muscle movement moves food along through your digestive system.

About Norton Healthcare Gastroenterology

  • Norton Cancer Institute has nine outpatient locations and multiple infusion centers in Louisville and surrounding counties and Southern Indiana. We have three radiation centers located just off major interstates, with free, self-service parking and valet parking.
  • Our gastrointestinal cancer patient navigator guides you through the treatment process. The navigator is a registered nurse and advocate for patients and families who can help coordinate scheduling to minimize your visits. The navigator provides information and support throughout your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
  • The Norton Cancer Institute multidisciplinary approach to cancer care means you’ll have access to multiple specialists, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, interventional radiologists, interventional gastroenterologists, researchers, geneticists and dietitians.
  • We pull together providers from various disciplines to help identify the best treatment for you. At Norton Cancer Institute review boards, you will be considered for innovative clinical trials, immunotherapy, minimally invasive procedures, state-of-the-art radiation and advanced diagnostics.

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