Oesophageal Patients Association
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Do I need a "stretch " ,what are the symptoms ?

I hate to fuss and don't want to raise this with the HP without cause .

When I eat ,and quite often when I drink ,it feels as though my throat is constricting . When eating I constantly feel as though a tight bubble has formed and that I need to burp to relieve it . Generally I can burp .

Do these sound like symptoms requiring a " stretch " ? Or am I getting anxious and could the tension be more something I'm bringing on myself ,like clenching ones jaw unconsciously when nervous ,rather than the scar actually getting tight ?

9 Replies

Hi Violetqueen.

Tension and or anxiety can give you that feeling in your throat. Also it could be, as it turned out in my case when I had the same symptom's a build up of scar tissue. as always its always a good idea to get these things checked out just to give yourself peace of mind.

Kind Regards



Hi Vi..... raising this with the Houses Of Parliament (HP?) does seem a tad excessive...but if it gets results! In my case (and we're all the same but yet all different!) I had six 'stretches' in the first six months after the Ivor Lewis operation. Symptoms were the same as before my initial diagnosis - food 'sticking' when swallowing, at the bottom of the gullet, behind the rib cage. Every time the 'stretch' was an instant cure - done duing a day visit to hospital, under sedation so no pain or discomfort. Go make a fuss, either way - a stretch may be needed or if there's nothing wrong then that will reassure you !...... I wish you well.....


Thanks ,House of Parliament -) .

I guess they'd have to do an endoscopy to see if it's scar tissue or not . So if it were physchological then they'd have wasted their time ( and money ) investigating something that was all in my mind .

Food isn't getting stuck ,so maybe I should leave it .

Except someone ( in same position who has had stretches ) said don't wait because then the scar tissuie gets more ,scar gets tighter and it becomes harder to stretch .


PS meant health professional .


I think tension might be a factor, but I also wonder firstly, whether it might possibly be linked to the amount of air that you swallow during the eating / drinking process? Do you get much flatulence / nitrogen-type wind?

Does it happen regardless of what food you eat, or liquid you drink?

Some people use gripe water to release the burp; if burping relieves the problem then it does sound a bit like trapped wind, perhaps caused by the fact that our insides are a different shape from what nature originally intended? Or perhaps there is a sensitive spot somewhere in your system?

Secondly, though, if your throat is starting to constrict, and this is the cause of the trouble, there might be some kind of reaction from the nervous system in that area that is giving you the trouble. I wonder whether a barium swallow test might clarify what is happening? There may be some medication that might help.

I know these things seem like small details compared to what you have been through, but I think it would be worthwhile to have it checked out at a specific appointment. It is a quality of life thing to be able to eat reasonably easily within our limitations; and if you let it go on you may start to worry about it more and it might get worse.


Thanks Alan . It doesn't feel like trapped wind , the feeling is all in my throat ,more like I need to mimic a burping motion to release my throat ,if that makes sense .

But I'll get it checked .Just don't want to be forever imagining something is wrong . Though I guess some change in how I feel about my body and it's mysterious workings is inevitable .


That is quite right to have it checked, but it does not sound sinister as if it is cancer returning (which is always an underlying natural anxiety)


Hi Violetqueen

My husband has had two stretches since his oesophagectomy last July as he felt food sticking in his throat. He had one in October followed three weeks later by another which has sorted out the problem. So go ahead and get it checked out, a painless procedure with sedation and immediate relief to the symptoms and the worry. Good luck!



I had 2 stretches a year or so after surgery, my symptoms sound as if they were similar to yours but I had trouble burping. The stretches work normally the first time, poss another is needed for a few and are a quick and easy solution to a common issue for a number of patients.

Tension and worries about things going wrong are all part of the healing process, but can be overcome by speaking to your hospital team and other patients.

Kindest regards,



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