What is Esophageal Varices?
Esophageal Varices are enlarged veins located in the lower esophagus that are caused when the portal vein to the liver becomes blocked. Esophageal varices can sometimes burst, leading to serious medical complications.
Symptoms of Esophageal Varices
Early stages of esophageal varices may not present any recognizable symptoms. As the condition progresses, some of the most common symptoms may include:
- Heavier than normal breathing
- Unusual abdominal pain
- Painful swallowing
- Unexpected and sudden blood vomiting
- A continuous feeling of nausea
- Bluish coloring of the skin
If any of the above symptoms are observed, it is wise to consult a doctor, as time is of the essence when it comes to the treatment of the condition.
Causes of Esophageal Varices
Esophageal Varices can develop as a result of:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Liver cancer
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Toxic injury to the liver
These are the most common causes of esophageal varices, although it is possible that other medical conditions can result in the development of this condition.
Risks Factors for Esophageal Varices
Personal Risks Factors
- Being male
- Having a family history of liver disease
- Being overweight
- Habitual and/or excessive alcohol consumption
Medical Risk Factors
- Having cirrhosis or another form of liver disease
- Having excessive abdominal pressure due to ascites
- Having a severe case of hepatitis
- Having a nutritional deficiency
If any of the above risk factors are observed, it is best to immediately consult a doctor, as early diagnosis and treatment is key in preventing any further damage to the esophagus.
Treatment Options for Esophageal Varices
The treatment goals for esophageal varices are to prevent any further bleeding, reduce the pressure in the veins and repair the damaged veins before they become enlarged. Treatment methods may include:
- Medication to reduce pressure in the veins
- Surgery to repair a damaged vein
- Endoscopic treatments such as band ligation or sclerotherapy
- Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS) procedure
The treatment option will depend on the severity of the condition, so it is recommended that an experienced doctor be consulted for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Esophageal Varices are dangerous and can have serious medical repercussions if left untreated. It is important to be aware of the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options to ensure the best possible outcome.
Keywords: esophageal varices, enlarged veins, portal vein blockage, symptoms, abdominal pain, blood vomiting, nausea, bluish skin, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, primary biliary cirrhosis, toxic liver injury, risk factors, treatment options, band ligation, sclerotherapy, TIPS procedure.