MSD Manual

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Lower Esophageal Ring

(Schatzki Ring; B Ring)

By

Kristle Lee Lynch

, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania

Medically Reviewed Mar 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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A lower esophageal ring narrows the lower esophagus and is most likely present at birth.

Normally, the lower esophagus has a diameter of about ¾ inch (about 2 centimeters). However, it may be narrowed to ½ inch in diameter (about 1¼ centimeters) or less by a ring of tight tissue, which may cause difficulty in swallowing solids. This symptom can begin at any age but usually does not begin until after age 25. The swallowing difficulty Difficulty Swallowing Some people have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). In dysphagia, foods and/or liquids do not move normally from the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. People feel as though food or liquids become... read more (dysphagia) comes and goes and is especially aggravated by meat and dry bread.

Chewing food thoroughly followed by taking sips of water usually prevents symptoms. A doctor may fix the narrowing by passing an endoscope through the mouth and throat and into the esophagus or may use a blunt-tipped instrument (called a bougie) to widen the passageway. In rare cases, doctors widen the constricting ring by doing a surgical procedure.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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