Symptoms of Zenker's diverticulum include discomfort when swallowing, regurgitation of food several hours after eating, the sensation of food being stuck in the throat after eating, bad breath and unexplained weight loss, according to the Boston Medical Center. Another symptom is the aspiration of food and liquid during mealtime, causing choking and bleeding.
Zenker's diverticulum is characterized by the development of a small pouch of tissue in the upper esophagus, according to the Boston Medical Center. This pouch may contain undigested food, causing difficulty when swallowing. Men and women older than 50 are typically more susceptible to the condition, and it affects men more often than women.
Doctors typically classify Zenker's diverticulum cases as being small, intermediate or large depending on the pouch's size, according to Boston Medical Center. Diagnosis of the condition is typically performed either through a contrast esophagram, endoscopy or eophageal manometry. No known medications treat Zenker's diverticulum, making surgery the most common treatment approach. Both open and transoral repair surgeries have been found to be effective at treating the condition, although very small diverticula often go unnoticed and do not require treatment. Surgeons perform open surgery through an incision in the neck, while transoral repair makes use of a stapling device inserted into the mouth with metal tubes, avoiding incision.