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The Endoscopy Center, Inc.:

(605) 721-8121

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2820 Mt. Rushmore Road
Rapid City, SD 57701

Esophageal Varices

What are Esophageal Varices?

What are Esophageal Varices?

Esophageal varices refer to enlarged veins in the lower portion of the esophagus, developed due to a blockage of blood flow to the liver. Often caused by clot or scar tissue found in the liver, Esophageal varices present hazards to a person’s better well-being when left untreated and can lead to internal bleeding, ruptured blood vessels, and even death.

Symptoms of Esophageal Varices.

Symptoms of Esophageal Varices

Esophageal varices often show no symptoms unless they are bleeding or have burst. However, burst Esophageal varices can prove fatal and may result in vomiting blood, as well as change the color of stool. Other symptoms of Esophageal varices may include lightheadedness, jaundice, loss of consciousness, and bloody or tarry stools.

What Causes Esophageal Varices?

What Causes Esophageal Varices?

Esophageal varices can occur as a direct result of cirrhosis, or severe liver scarring, thrombosis, parasitic infections, as well as via blockages of blood flow to the liver from the build-up of scar tissue. Esophageal varices are also often developed as a result of pressure build-up in the bloodstream, commonly known as portal hypertension.

Diagnosing Esophageal Varices.

Diagnosing Esophageal Varices

Esophageal varices can be diagnosed through capsule endoscopy, imaging tests, as well as upper gastrointestinal endoscopies. With these tests, physicians are able to identify and assess any swelling and dilation found in your veins.

Esophageal Varices Treatment.

Esophageal Varices Treatment

Non-selective beta blockers are commonly used to treat esophageal varices. Such beta blockers work to reduce blood pressure in the portal vein, reducing the chances of internal bleeding. Should you have bleeding veins, endoscopic band ligation may be utilized to band your veins to reduce/stop bleeding. Band ligation is performed during an upper endoscopic procedure.

Esophageal Varices Prevention.

Esophageal Varices Prevention

You can work to prevent the chances of developing esophageal varices by limiting alcohol consumption, regularly exercising, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding contact with harsh chemicals such as cleaning supplies.

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