How do people develop esophageal varices?

Cirrhosis. Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) interferes with blood flow into the liver substance, especially venous blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract. This results in rerouting of this venous blood which is returned to the heart through esophageal varices, which are veins that become abnormally dilated in order to acommodate this increased volume of blood.
Cirrhosis. When the liver becomes scarred (alcohol is the most common cause) blood can't flow through it to get back to the heart. The liver normally filters the blood coming from the GI tract. The blood still has to get back to the heart so it finds alternative pathways such as the veins in the esophagus. Over time these become swollen and can erode through the esophagus and bleed.

Related Questions

Do a lot of people get esophageal varices?

No, it is uncommon. . Esophageal varices are more common in people with high blood pressure in veins that drain into the liver. This is usually caused by a liver disease like alcohol-induced cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis. Read more...

I've been diagnosed with esophageal varices how much time should I expect to take off of work?

Keep working. Esophageal varices can bleed and if you presented this way and have been appropriately treated then ask your physician when to return to work. Known esophageal varices without bleeding should not keep you from working, and maintaining adequate nutrition, exercise, and rest should help you. Progression of the liver damage may weaken you to the point of decreasing performance at work, then stop. Read more...

My sister says she has esophageal varices. Are family members more likely to get the same thing?

Liver disease. Varices are seen commonly in liver disease. So it depends on what liver disease we are talking about. For example hepatitis c isn't genetic but wilson's disease and hereditary hemachromatosis are. Read more...
Esophageal varices. Esophageal varices is one of the signs of / can develop in chronic liver disease. Most common causes of chonic liver disease are alcohol and hepatitis c or b-- these are not hereditary/genetics. A few genetic abnormality-however can also cause chonic liver disease- for instance---> hemochromatosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, wilson disease. Read more...