Patient Comments: Schatzki's Ring - Symptoms

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What were your symptoms that led to a diagnosis of Schatzki's ring? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Gene, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

My Schatzki's ring started 10 or 15 years ago with eating chicken and rice or something similar. Initially, I had 2 or 3 episodes a year that gradually increased to 2 to 3 times a week. Basically I could either eat with no problems or the food would stop at my sphincter and go no further. I never had pain of any type. It would normally start early in the meal. Sometimes I would have 3 or 4 episodes at a single meal. After 10 or 15 minutes I was 100 percent normal. Lately mini-frosted wheat became a problem. Water was an occasional problem. My doctor could not get his instrument through my throat for endoscopy. He stretched the ring and scheduled a second stretching for 30 days later.

Comment from: Sixfirefish, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

I had lots of vomiting of water and food, unable to eat, and chest pain. I failed to be able do the barium swallow when I was diagnosed with Schatzki's ring.

Comment from: Tom, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 17

I first experienced Schatzki's ring at age 12; am now 69. Dad had it, as do my brother and son. I have always chewed carefully; always last to finish eating and it still happens. I go months with few or no occurrences, then a long spell of frequent ones. Dense foods tend to trigger it (I no longer eat salmon at all), but it's happened with watermelon too. I haven't used vomiting, but I purposely cough vigorously, bringing up backed-up saliva and food particles, until it clears.

Comment from: Kathryn, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 11

My husband had one episode where he was eating and then felt like he couldn't breathe. It passed in a few moments, so we just thought he had swallowed the wrong way. Then, a few months later, it happened in the middle of a friend's dinner event and it was much scarier. My husband had horrible chest pain, turned very pale, sweated profusely and couldn't catch his breath. It looked like a heart attack and a doctor at the event insisted my husband go to emergency. They diagnosed dysphagia and said we had to have a follow-up with a gastroenterologist. Today my husband had an endoscopy and they found the Schatzki's ring and did the dilation while he was under. They also took biopsies, as there is a newly understood allergic ailment that can cause this. We'll know in a few days what the biopsies show. The doctor said that my husband might have to have the dilation done one other time in his lifetime, but said that a third dilation would be rare. Apparently, when they enlarge the ring, they are actually tearing the opening and it heals larger, but then can narrow again over a period of years. We're glad there were no growths or tumors, as that would have been the worst case scenario. I urge everyone with these symptoms to go to a gastroenterologist! As we were describing the symptoms, he immediately told us what it probably was and asked his assistant to get the dilation instruments, just in case. Don't ignore this, as apparently it's pretty fixable.

Comment from: Kim, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 16

Last February while at work I got a sudden urge to throw up. When I did it was just saliva. It would happen every 10 to 15 minutes. I went to emergency and they performed an endoscopy. It turned out a piece of banana was stuck. I too have Schatzki's ring but grateful it wasn't something worse. Yesterday I had the balloon treatment and feeling a sore throat but it is already feeling better today.

Comment from: tarjarcan75, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 11

I could barely swallow water anymore. I knew something was blocking the way down and was diagnosed with Schatzki's ring.

Comment from: Lucy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I was also diagnosed with Schatzki's ring, what has helped greatly is drinking something hot before eating; coffee, tea, water and lemon, whatever makes eating easier.

Comment from: Laney, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 01

I was diagnosed with Schatzki's ring about 4 or 5 years ago, along with a hiatal hernia. I notice it when I eat too fast and don't chew my food very good. I have to drink a lot of water when I eat and I usually get the hiccups. It's a terrible feeling, like you are going to choke and you can't breathe, and your chest hurts. My doctor said to take small bites and eat slow. It really makes a difference!

Comment from: Tankar, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 23

I was told I have probably had Schatzki's ring since birth, which would explain my awful pain and stomach problems as a kid. When I finally started choking on my food from it about ten years ago I put it off until I could stand it no more. I was scheduled to be knocked out for a colonoscopy so I told them to go ahead and fix the ring finally while I was out. That procedure hurt like a heart attack for a week after I woke up. It fixed the swallowing issue for about 5 years though. Now it's back. I am going to put up with the ring for now. I can't take that pain again.

Comment from: daxtea, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

Well, I am 41. I have had this Schatzki's ring problem for about 2 years now. What I have read and seen a few people talk about on YouTube seems to be that Schatzki's ring does not happen all the time. Probably 2 times a week, always the first bite and lasts a minute or 2. I sit and relax so I do not panic. It goes away and I am fine with the rest of meal. I don't have acid reflux symptoms or anything else going on. I don't have any other ailments other than having IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I don't smoke or drink. This is strange to me. But what is even stranger is that my husband has the same thing going on, his started a year ago. So that in itself is scary that both of us have it. We are hoping it is nothing crazy going on with us. We have read maybe asbestos could be something going on since we have lived in our house going on 8 1/2 years now. One of the symptoms was trouble swallowing. We have not gotten checked yet. I think I may check to see about me first to see why I have this and why my husband does also. Very strange and scary.

Comment from: Bettyy, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: April 28

After my first child 52 years ago I was told I had a hiatal hernia. I found that being 'burped' helped relieve. Years later I started having spasms in the esophagus while eating or drinking too fast. It felt like I was having a heart attack; it was diagnosed as Schatzki's ring. I discovered if I would immediately take an empty capsule purchased at pharmacy or use Prilosec or Tylenol capsule it would immediately open the esophagus. Best described it was like relieving a clogged drain with finger. I never left home without my empty capsules. Around age 65 I looked into having my esophagus stretched and seldom have had a spasm but often now get hiccups. Water helps and then time to have stretching done. I have had it done about 6 to 7 times in 15 years. Now I am 80 years old.

Comment from: NenesMama, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

I had my first episode with this when I lived alone with my newborn. I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn't swallow or breathe and I was getting light headed. That was 12 1/2 years ago. I've been diagnosed with a Schatzki's Ring and apparently a few others in my family have it. I still experience horrible symptoms, I still get light headed and think I'm going to pass out. Sometimes it causes violent regurgitation. I also have the horrible hiccups. I've had it stretched once and I try to watch what I eat. Bread or sweet bread is a huge trigger. But feeling like I'm going to black out is the worst.

Comment from: TrishS, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I was just occasionally having difficulty swallowing solid food. It would usually happen e.g., with a large lump of bread or if I tried to eat in too much of a hurry. I would feel the food stick somewhere in my chest and then just have to wait however long it took, maybe several minutes, for the sensation to go away, before I could continue eating. Trying to flush it through with water didn't always work; that would just sit above the solid food. As it was not happening on a daily basis or getting progressively worse, I was not too worried about a malignant cause, but eventually had an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy when the Schatzki's ring was found. I do recall my father having similar intermittent episodes.

Comment from: Emeline, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 01

I have had several treatments for Schatzki's ring now. Attacks occur without warning (once in a restaurant) and I have to call 911 each time because of the chest pain. I am unable to swallow for about 20 minutes. I am told not to drink anything until the attack is over. I have surgery scheduled for stretching of the esophagus. Symptoms include severe chest pain and inability to swallow saliva.

Comment from: Utah, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

About 18 months ago I had my first episode where my throat tightened up and I felt like I was choking. I had a few of these experiences in the next year, increasing in regularity with time. In the last three months I feel almost on a daily basis that food is getting stuck halfway down, and I need to drink a lot to get it to move on. Today I had an EGD. The results showed that I have a Schatzki"s ring. They dilated my esophagus. When I came out of the anesthesia the first thing that I noticed is that my throat didn"t hurt or feel tight like it has for months. Yay! My doctor said it'll grow back. I hope not for a while.

Comment from: chokingwater, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 10

I had a heart attack. I had problems getting better. GERD was a problem for me and so was choking. An EDG and barium swallow showed that I had a Schatzki's ring. I am choking more and more in my throat so my upper sphincter is going to be stretched. I looked for a little information about this procedure and found this site. I notice that most people talk about their lower chest. Only a few people talk about their throat.

Comment from: sadiemae, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 07

I had been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia years ago. I then started to experience painful indigestion and was then diagnosed with GERD. Medication helped with that. I have recently been bothered with pain in my chest as well as a feeling that food was not going down my esophagus. I had a set of barium x-rays done and the result was the finding of the Schatzki's Ring as well as a very large hiatal hernia. I am now scheduled for stretching the ring.

Comment from: Jim, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 03

I had pain in my chest when I swallowed. This was really the only symptom I had with Schatzki's ring. My 38 year old son has the same issue.

Comment from: LSibley, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I have had the burning chest feeling for about 5 years off and on, kind of like a giant hair ball stuck in the upper part of my chest, along with a choking feeling that is a bit scary, regurgitation with saliva and usually passes in 5 minutes or less. I try to breathe gently when this happens. I had a colonoscopy/endoscopy 2 years ago and the Schatzki's Ring was diagnosed. I was grateful to have a diagnosis and the stretching of the ring. I have been symptom free until this last month and have had 2 episodes (today it was triggered by hard bread, the prior by hastily eating meat). I generally eat too fast so I practice eating slowly and this helps. Sometimes walking around helps; exercise is definitely a help. I also drink aloe vera juice from the health food store to help soothe the throat and digestive tract.

Comment from: jsgibs, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 21

I have had pain below my sternum for at least 10 years when I lie down. It was very painful and sometimes felt like gas was trapped in my upper stomach area. Lately when I go to bed, I have spasms below my sternum and it feels like someone is squeezing my esophagus or upper stomach. Every time I would turn over in bed, I would feel the squeezing feeling. Also, when reclined way back in the dentist or shampoo chair, it hurts when I am raised up from this reclined position. I have Schatzki's ring.

Comment from: Donna, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I also have a Schatzki's ring which was just diagnosed in the past few years. I've had 2 dilatations since that time, the last one in October. Unfortunately that one only lasted 2 weeks and I was back to choking, then vomiting until the food either came up or went down. The other day I went to a 2nd doctor for another opinion. I am scheduled for an endoscopy again, just 5 months after the other one that didn't work. He is talking a stent as a possibility depending on what he sees. I'm not sure I like this and wondered if any of you had it done or was suggested to do by your doctor.

Comment from: Aoife, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

I have had my esophagus stretched twice due to Schatzki's ring, and I woke up during both procedures. I am trying to get my nerve up to have the procedure done again as the stretching from the previous procedures has worn off and my throat actually hurts when I swallow. I wish there was a way they could fracture the Schatzki's ring and put an end to it. I travel a lot and it is very difficult to plan where to run to the loo to throw up when you are in new places. It is hard to plan meals with other people, sometimes I have to tell them in advance that I may have to jump up and run to the bathroom for a bit. I never know when it is going to hit and even when I eat or drink slowly and carefully it can all of a sudden act up. It does seem like it is now worse than the first two times I had the procedure. So tired of this!

Comment from: TLee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

I was diagnosed 2 days ago with Schatzki's ring. Many of the symptoms described by the other patients here were my experience, although I didn't realize how serious it can get. I have been mostly vegan for several years, so I probably was spared a lot of episodes resulting from eating meat. I have found that warm to hot liquids ease the symptoms, as does walking up and down. I have been looking into the pH balancing of foods, and pursuing more alkaline-based foods, especially raw potatoes, which neutralizes stomach acids. This might be a good alternative to antacids.

Comment from: WjohnC, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 01

I was diagnosed about 9 years ago, after seeing various doctors and receiving a lack of understanding as to the cause of my symptoms. I experience a blockage at nearly every meal, although regurgitation is far less often since my endoscopies. I have gone as long as 37-hours without being able to eat or drink because of a blockage, in the past. Most of the time, a carbonated drink will help remove the pressure. However, I almost never suffer any symptoms of heartburn, and I don't take any kind of anti-acids. The endoscopy greatly reduced my symptoms.

Comment from: yo yo, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 22

I went for the test and do have Schatzki's ring. I drink a lot of water when eating, chew it well, and avoid very dry foods in large doses; tuna straight out of the can, turkey and especially steak, I eat slowly with lot of water and small solid pieces. It is hereditary, my father has it. Good luck.

Comment from: LisaD, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 11

I was diagnosed with bronchitis. It started with cold and cough symptoms for a week. A week later, I had cough and mild wheezing. I am just starting to feel better now after three and a half weeks.

Comment from: mrhiccup, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 18

I had been diagnosed with Barrett's a couple years ago, and when I was recently scoped again, my gastroenterologist (without my prior consent) elected to stretch my Schatzki"s ring, which had not been a significant problem in the past at all. Now I have very bad GERD when I lie down after eating, and I also have violent hiccups after eating, and sometimes when I haven"t eaten- which is very disturbing and embarrassing. If one doesn"t have serious swallowing issues, I would caution allowing a doctor to perform this procedure.

Comment from: Knoble7264, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I had severe acid reflux and was prescribed Prilosec. An endoscopy showed the Schatzki's ring. Prilosec keeps everything under control now.

Comment from: Amy Marie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I was diagnosed with Shatzki's ring this during an endoscopy exam. They said they fixed the problem but I still have some pain when I eat. I was told to chew my food very slowly and to cut my food up very small. I sometimes feel like the pain is on both sides of my sternum and then moves under the breast almost like a spasm. It is very painful!

Comment from: SMF, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

I was diagnosed with the ring about 3 years ago. My doctor said it formed from rising stomach acids irritating my esophagus thru a hiatal hernia. I have found a simple solution. Every morning (and whenever convenient) I stretch over backward on the endge of my bed, until my hands touch the floor. This seems to correct the hernia and prevent the stomach acids from rising. I still have the occasional food sticking, but find that if I drink between every couple of bites then I am ok.

Comment from: Sidney, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 16

I experienced swallowing difficulties from 1976 to 1991 with partial or full blockages. In 1991 I was diagnosed with Schatzski's Ring. After that, I was dilated every two years with an endoscopy using a hard rubber ball to filate the ring. In 2006 I started taking Omeprezole (Prilosec)to control my stomach acid. I have not had to dilate the Schatzki' Ring since that time and have no swallowing difficulties.

Comment from: loulu, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

For the last year I had trouble swallowing. I needed to have an ultrasound of my heart but the cardiologist would not do it until the swallowing problem was addressed. I had a barium swallow done, which didn't show anything. The doctor did an EGD and found the Schatzki's ring last week. He stretched the ring and the problem seems to be resolved already.

Published: January 14

For many years I would feel as though my food was stuck and would have to drink a lot to swallow it. I did a barium swallow but it didn't show anything. Then one day a piece of chicken got stuck. I could not regurgitate or swallow it or my saliva. I went to the ER and they did an EGD to dislodge the chicken and later I had a EGD to stretch the ring.

Comment from: Xcaliber, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 09

I had trouble swallowing food. When eating I would get the sensation that I was choking. This choking sensation would lead to panic as I felt as if I could not breathe. In actuality I could breathe but, I could not pass food to my stomach. The sensation was very scary. This problem developed and became worse over a year. Sometimes I was able to alleviate the problem by drinking water but, sometimes I would have to induce vomiting by myself to remove the blockage. This problem was very intermittent. I finally went to a doctor and I had a video x-ray taken while ingesting barium. This video showed that I had a Schatzki ring in my esophagus which would intermittently dilate like a sphincter. I received the "ballon" treatment which was very painless and totally fixed the problem at that time. It is now 20 years later and I am having some of the same symptoms. I may need to have this done again.

Comment from: Roman, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 18

I'm 37 and I had trouble swallowing for almost 10 years. It was fine in the beginning but for the past 2 years I need to have water constantly available every time I swallow anything. The water helps me to push the food down. I have had 3 big chocking episodes that occurred while I was eating chicken or meat. I felt like I was dying, I couldn't breathe. I had to have someone do the Heimlich maneuver to make me regurgitate the food. I was really scared. One time the chocking lasted for 8 hours. I couldn't even swallow my own saliva because I couldn't breathe. I just got diagnosed with Schatzki's ring last month. Now I know what's going on. They made me drink barium and get an X-ray to discover it. It's getting worse everyday but I'm going to get the procedure with the balloons to expand my esophagus next week. I hope I can help some people having the same trouble as I am. It's really scary and I don't wish it on anyone.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I am relieved others have these symptoms. Intense chest pain, saliva build up and you basically have to wait it out until it passes. Sometimes within a second you can almost feel the blockage or bubble feeling pop and your back to normal. I have had one procedure, dilation 6 years ago and my symptoms have returned in the pass few months. I notice a natural whole foods diet does not cause any symptoms, I am going to try that for a few more months before having another procedure. I fear that the procedures may cause scar tissue or more damage in the long term.

Comment from: Anne, 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 12

I have a ten year old daughter who has this. Her GI doctor is following new research that seems to conclude that these can be caused by food allergies. We put her on a new diet with Prilosec and a Flovent inhaler to decrease the swelling and inflammation.

Comment from: lonerancher, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 12

The first experience I had was in Vietnam at the age of 19. In 1985 I finally went in for a diagnosis and it was Schatski's ring. I have lived with it for 43 years. It is triggered by certain foods, namely steak. However, it has also been triggered by cream of wheat. Last weekend the symptoms lasted for two days. An inability to swallow (not even saliva) and a constant pain in the chest. I have learned to try and not eat when under stress, or very hungry. If I eat too fast and I am not relaxed I can expect problems. Sometimes the pain is severe. When it lasts longer than a few minutes I experiment with ways to make it pass, but to no avail. It is particularly a matter of concern when it lasts longer than 24 hours. I have learned to live with this and wouldn't wish it on anyone. If anyone knows a way to make it pass I would like to know. I have had the esophagus dilating treatments a few times but it is brutal. I guess we can be philosophical and tell ourselves its better than Parkinson's disease. I worry that it may develop into cancer someday.

Comment from: H, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I found it difficult to swallow food, and on one occasion, I was sick. The food would lie at the level of my chest for a long while. Before my diagnosis of Schatzki's ring, I stopped eating food. Near the end, even soup was difficult to get down.

Comment from: JenTheRN, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

My first episode of Schatzki's ring was incredibly scary! I had such horrendous chest pain that I was certain I was having a heart attack. I began to regurgitate without any sensation of nausea. That was nearly twenty years ago, but i remember it like it was yesterday. I have had a total of three dilation procedures and am probably about due for another since I am having some episodes when taking my medications. I have found that caffeine exacerbates the symptoms, as do very cold liquid drinks while eating or taking medications.

Comment from: springhiller, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 13

After a few bites of a meal I began to cough, sometimes very long and hard. Some believed I was choking, it was difficult to get my breath sometimes, but I could breathe. Food seemed to make a lump near the bottom of my breastbone, and at times it was quite painful. I have found that breathing slowly, eating slowly, and chewing my food well helps. Exercise also seems to help the symptoms of Schatzki's ring.

Comment from: nanny j, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

Because of my Schatzki's ring I've difficulty swallowing, particularly steak, chicken and prescription tablets. Felt I had to get the food over a lump at the back of the throat often having 'heart burn' like sensation approximately 2-3 hours after eating.

Comment from: Kathy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

I had difficulty swallowing pills. They would get caught in my throat, staying there until they dissolved or I would simply not be able to swallow larger ones at all. I also sometimes experienced a feeling of constriction in my thoat which would give me a light-headed feeling for a few seconds. Yesterday I had an endoscopy and the doctor stretched the Schatzi ring. I have a mild sore throat today, but otherwise feel fine. I did not feel anything during the procedure. I was sedated and my thoat was sprayed with a numbing spray.

Comment from: John, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 29

I have had this Schatzki's ring problem for decades. I have to eat very slowly. If food does get stuck for more than a few minutes I have to regurgitate to get it out. Usually if all of the food is regurgitated I can swallow again and resume eating. Occasionally when all of the food is regurgitated, I still can't swallow. When that occurs I find sucking on hard candy like lifesavers gets the swallowing process going agaain within a few minutes. For reasons I can't explain I find that regular strenuous aerobic exercise helps releive this condition. I can't think of a reason why the exercise works, but it does.

Comment from: dfowler30, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

I have the severe middle of chest pain from time to time. No heart condition, just acid reflux. I'm on daily medicine for it. I've found that drinking a full glass of water immediately stops the pain. If no water is available sometimes opening my mouth to form a perfect O causes a pop and the pain is relieved. Hopes this helps someone.

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