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Schatzki Ring

Schatzki Ring: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

The Schatzki ring has derived its name from Richard Schatzki, who was the medical physician who discovered this condition. In this condition your esophagus gets narrowed, leading to difficulty when trying to orally consume and swallow food, liquids or even medications. In cases where this condition gets worse and requires treatment, it could require the suffering person to take the prescribed medications or in some cases have their esophagus dilated.

Continue reading the blog to develop an understanding of the Schatzki ring symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

What is a Schatzki Ring?

A Schatzki’s ring can be defined as additionally developed tissues that are formed inside the esophagus, which is actually the tube in your body that is responsible for carrying the consumed food and liquids all the way to your stomach. The Schatzki ring causes the esophagus tube to get narrowed at a specific point, which lies very close to the part that joins the stomach. This leads to having a hard time swallowing anything you consume, while also getting a feeling as if the food gets stuck in between.

In order for a Schatzki ring to cause health problems and symptoms, its width needs to be equal to or less than 13 mm (millimeters) – However, Schatzki rings that are equal to or wider than 25 mm do not cause any symptoms.

Schatzki Ring Symptoms

In the majority of the reported cases, signs and symptoms of the Schatzki ring did not cause any of the symptoms it is capable of inducing; and even when people did experience mild Schatzki ring symptoms, they kept on showing and leaving, without showing any tendency to get worse.

The mainly identified Schatzki ring symptoms are:

  • Trouble swallowing pills, meat, and chewy foods
  • Trouble swallowing large bites 
  • Steakhouse syndrome or a feeling of food stuck in your chest
  • Trouble swallowing liquids, in severe cases
  • Chest pain
  • Complete blockage where food is stuck in your esophagus
  • Regurgitation is where food comes back up into your mouth 
  • Throwing up

Schatzki Ring Causes

It’s never clear, so there’s no certainty on why actually people end up developing a Schatzki ring – Nonetheless, there have been several cases in which a mild Schatzki ring had been formed as a result of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or acid reflux induced irritation.

Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the person experiences displacement of a part of their stomach as it moves upwards into the chest – This condition is also considered to be an underlying cause of Schatzki rings, as it directly causes acid reflux and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) in a person, which in turn leads to the formation of a Schatzki ring.

What Are Schatzki Ring Treatments?

The Schatzki ring treatment is opted for when the condition gets symptomatic, with an objective to minimize the occurring symptoms and ease the flow of food through the tube from being consumed to reaching the stomach.

This Schatzki ring treatment approach requires physicians to widen the diameter of the ring by utilizing balloon dilation, although surgery might be recommended in certain specific cases. Balloon dilation can be explained as the medical procedure which utilizes an endoscopic tube that has a balloon attached to it, to have it inserted into the esophagus. 

Moreover, if acid reflux is said to be linked with the formation of the mild Schatzki ring, acid-reducing medications that are known as proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, can also be used to reduce symptoms.

Another approach that can be taken when working against Schatzki ring symptoms is by making the required dietary changes in your daily life to help ease and to some extent, minimize the Schatzki ring symptoms.

You can:

  • Take smaller bites
  • Avoid tough meat
  • Chew your food fully before swallowing
  • Take your time eating 

Debunking a popular misconception, a person experiencing a Schatzki ring does not need to discontinue the consumption of chewy foods like bread and meat. While there are certain foods that are capable of triggering heartburn or even making GERD symptoms worse, the food itself is not a Schatzki ring cause.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 12/05/2022

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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