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Esophageal Scarring With Hepatitis C

I thought that my only scars were from a bike wreck when I was a kid. You know, the one on my leg – well, it’s still there, even if you can barely see it. Anyway, while hep C was busy multiplying in my liver, it created scars too. A chain reaction was moving into many parts of my body. I ended up with esophageal scarring with hepatitis C and didn’t even know it. If your doctor wants to take a peek, go ahead and let them. You want to know about secret, hidden, scars.

When your doctor wants to look

If your lab scores show that your liver enzymes are outside of the normal range, that’s a red flag. It could mean that damage to your liver is causing a lack of blood. It’s called portal hypertension and it takes a few steps to diagnose it.

After the lab scores, if your medical provider wants to know more, they may perform an ultrasound. This type of radar image can show several things. One of the things it can detect is the direction in which your blood is flowing. If your liver has a lot of scars, from fibrous bands tightening around it, the can’t filter your blood.

Discovering scars on the inside

Mine was covered with scars. The next thing I had to go through was an endoscopy. They wanted to put the scope down my throat. Of course, they wanted to look up from the bottom, so why not? Just get it over with all at once, right? They put you out for it, which was nice. I didn’t remember a thing, but woke up with weird news.

They discovered over two dozen varices had formed in my esophagus and stomach. They banded several in my esophagus, but the ones in my stomach could not be reached. The doctor felt they were not a current threat, and decided to let them go. The focus was on my esophagus for sure. They would band 5 or 6 each time until they got them all.

What is banding?

Since they wanted to wait 6 weeks between the endoscopy procedures called “bandings”, I learned to be patient. The idea was that once they wrapped rubber bands around the bulging little varices, they would fall off and go through my gastro system. In other words, down the toilet.

It worked. Every time. I ended up losing count of how many times they banded my varices. There were other measures taken to prevent them, like medications. But, on the whole, we had a lot to get rid of. Over time, some of them left scars where the tissue had fallen off.

Finding treatment and solutions

Today, I’ve survived all of the bandings and even a few bleed outs. Eventually, I ended up with esophageal scarring with hepatitis C. It sounds awful, but like the scars themselves, no one can see, or even know that I have it. By chewing my food thoroughly and carefully, it doesn’t get stuck in my throat. You can go get your esophagus stretched if it gets too bad.

For me, after a liver transplant, I don’t want to go under again anytime soon. I’ll live with those scars and be thankful that I got treatment and lived through to tell the story.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.