Inflammation that damages the tube running from the throat to the stomach (oesophagus).

What is esophagitis?

Esophagitis is inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Common causes are acid reflux, side effects of certain medications, and bacterial or viral infections. Reflux occurs when stomach contents and acids return to the esophagus.

This disorder can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

Difficulty swallowing
Sore throat
stomach pains
Untreated esophagitis can lead to ulcers, scarring, and severe narrowing of the esophagus, which can constitute a medical emergency.

Your treatment options and outlook will depend on the cause of your condition. Most healthy people get better within two to four weeks with proper treatment. People with weakened immune systems or an infection may take longer to recover.

Types of esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis is caused by too many eosinophils in the esophagus. It happened when your body overreacted to an allergen. This can make feeding difficult for children. According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, 1 in 10,000 children will suffer from this type of esophagitis. Common triggers are:

Milk
soy
Eggs
wheat
peanuts
nuts
Seafood
Inhaled allergens such as pollen can also contribute to this type of esophagitis.

Reflux esophagitis
Reflux esophagitis usually results from a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach contents, such as acids, frequently flow back into the esophagus. This leads to chronic inflammation and irritation of the esophagus.

Drug-induced esophagitis
Drug-induced esophagitis can occur when you take certain medicines without enough water. This causes the drugs to stay in the esophagus for too long. These drugs include:

Pain killer
Antibiotics
Potassium chloride
Bisphosphonates (drugs that prevent bone loss)
Infectious esophagitis
Infectious esophagitis is rare and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. You are at increased risk of developing this type of esophagitis if your immune system is weakened by disease or medications. This type is common in people with HIV or AIDS, cancer and diabetes.

Symptoms of esophagitis
Symptoms of esophagitis are:

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
Pain when swallowing (odynophagia)
Sore throat
hoarsely
stomach pains
acid reflux
Chest pain (worse when eating)
nausea
To vomit
epigastric abdominal pain
Loss of appetite
cough

Risk factors for esophagitis
The risk factors for developing esophagitis are:

weakened immune system due to HIV or AIDS, diabetes, leukemia or lymphoma
Hiatus hernia (when the stomach pushes through the opening in the diaphragm between the esophagus and the stomach)
chemotherapy
Radiation therapy to the chest
Breast surgery
Medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection
immunosuppressive drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases
Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs
chronic vomiting
obesity
Consumption of alcohol and cigarettes
a family history of allergies or esophagitis
Your chances of developing an esophageal infection are slim if you have a healthy immune system.

Possible long-term health complications
Untreated esophagitis can lead to serious health complications related to the function and structure of the esophagus. The complications are:

Barrett’s esophagus, damage to the lining of the esophagus that can lead to precancerous tissue change
Narrowing or narrowing of the esophagus, which can lead to constipation and difficulty swallowing
Holes or ulcers in the esophagus (perforation of the esophagus)
How is esophagitis diagnosed?
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have symptoms of esophagitis. Be prepared to provide a complete medical history, including any other diagnosed conditions. List all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking.

Your doctor will likely do a physical exam. You can also order diagnostic tests including:

Endoscopy with biopsies
Barium x-ray, also known as the upper GI series
Allergy tests, including skin tests. Food elimination can be discussed after a diagnostic endoscopy.

Treatment of esophagitis
Treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms. Medications can include:

antiviral drugs
Antifungal drugs
Antacids
Pain killer
oral steroids
Proton pump inhibitors (these drugs block the production of acid in the stomach)
If food allergies are the root cause of your illness, you need to identify trigger foods and eliminate them from your diet. The 6 main food allergens are:

Milk
soy
Eggs
wheat
peanuts
nuts
Seafood

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