Esophagitis (ih-sof-uh-JI-tis) is inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the
More to Know
The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth
to the stomach. A number of different factors can cause the esophagus to become inflamed,
irritated, or swollen. The most common cause of esophagitis is gastroesophageal
reflux, a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. Other
causes include allergic
reactions; reactions to certain oral medications (pills or other medicines that are
swallowed); and infection by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.
Esophagitis can narrow the esophagus and cause symptoms such as difficult or painful
swallowing, heartburn, chest pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting,
coughing, sore throat, and decreased appetite. It can also cause food to become lodged
in the esophagus.
If left untreated, esophagitis can increase the risk of more serious conditions.
Treatment depends on what is causing the esophagitis and may include medicines
to treat acid reflux, reduce allergic reactions, or fight infections. Lifestyle choices
(such as losing weight, not smoking, and avoiding foods that cause allergic reactions
or increase reflux) also can help control esophagitis.
Keep in Mind
Most of the conditions that cause esophagitis respond well to treatment. Esophagitis
caused by oral medications usually heals within a few days after the medicine is changed
or its use is stopped.
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