The esophagus connects the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal diverticula are weak parts of the esophagus that pouch outward. The types of diverticula include:
- Zenker's diverticula, which occur at the top of the esophagus
- Mid-esophageal, which occur in the middle
- Ephiphrenic diverticula, which appear at the bottom
This condition often causes no symptoms unless food fills up the pouch. They may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Having undigested food flow back up the esophagus from the stomach
- Repeated pneumonia
- Repeated cases of getting food in the breathing passages or lungs.
The most effective method for diagnosing esophageal diverticula is a barium swallow. As the barium solution moves down the esophagus, it fills the pouches so they can be seen on an X-ray.
This condition is usually not treated unless it is severe. In those cases, the pouches are removed with surgery.