Esophageal Blockage, Resolved

The esophagus is the passage or "tube" that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. You had a blockage in the esophagus. This can happen after swallowing a large piece of food, taking a large pill, or swallowing foreign objects.

If this is a recurring problem, it can be a sign of disease in the esophagus, such as inflammation (swelling and irritation) or scarring. If you did not have a special procedure (endoscopy) today to treat your condition, further testing will be needed to evaluate this problem.

The blockage has cleared. You should be able to swallow normally again.

Home care

  • For the next 24 hours you may drink liquids and eat soft foods.

  • You may have been given medicine today to prevent pain and help you relax. If so, you may feel drowsy for the next 4 to 12 hours. Don't drive or operate dangerous equipment until you feel alert again.

  • If your esophagus was blocked by food, be sure to cut solid food into small pieces before putting it into your mouth. Chew all foods well before swallowing.

  • If your esophagus was blocked by an over-the-counter pill (such as a vitamin), stay away from this size pill in the future. If it was blocked by a prescription medicine, ask your healthcare provider for another form of medicine.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. If you continue to have problems, contact your provider. If this is a recurring problem, talk with your healthcare provider about it. They may suggest having an endoscopy. This procedure uses a small camera and light in a narrow, flexible tube to look in the esophagus.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Not being able to swallow

  • Significant pain on swallowing

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

Call 911

Call 911 if any of the following occur: 

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

  • Vomiting blood (red or black)

  • Blood in your stool (dark red or black color) 

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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