Inflammation or irritation of the esophagus is known as esophagitis. It may be caused by acid reflux, bacterial or viral infections, or certain medications. Symptoms include chest pain, nausea, and heartburn.
The esophagus is the tube that sends food from your mouth to your stomach. Esophagitis is when this becomes inflamed.
Keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of esophagitis.
Esophagitis may be classified into
It’s typically associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This causes chronic inflammation and irritation of the esophagus.
Common triggers may include:
|• dairy products
• dust mites
Some people have a higher risk of developing eosinophilic esophagitis due to certain health conditions,
- chronic seasonal allergy
- atopic dermatitis
Certain medications may create an acidic environment in your stomach and cause esophageal inflammation. These may
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- ascorbic acid
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- potassium chloride
- some chemotherapies, such as dactinomycin, daunorubicin, and bleomycin
Drug-induced esophagitis may also occur if you take medications without drinking enough water, or if you take them while lying down.
- Candida, which is a type of fungus
- herpes simplex virus, which is a viral infection
- cytomegalovirus, which is a type of herpes virus
- human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
You have an increased risk for this type of esophagitis if you have a
Radiation therapy kills cells in your body, which may cause inflammation and the development of free radicals. These have been associated with several health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.
Symptoms of radiation esophagitis may develop within
Symptoms of esophagitis include:
Speak with a doctor if you or a child experiences the following:
- shortness of breath, especially if it does not occur while eating
- symptoms that continue for more than a few days
- symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with your ability to eat properly
- headache, muscle aches, or fever
When to seek medical attention
Seek immediate medical attention if you:
- have chest pain lasting more than a few minutes, especially if you have a history of heart problems, elevated blood pressure, or diabetes
- have food stuck in your esophagus
- are unable to consume even small sips of water
A doctor will evaluate your symptoms and perform a physical and medical history examination. They may also order diagnostic tests,
These can help specify the type of esophagitis you may have and eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms. Some of these conditions may
- acute coronary syndrome
- peptic ulcer disease
- esophageal rings and webs
- pulmonary embolism
A doctor may also perform allergy testing, which may include skin tests.
Risk factors for developing esophagitis may include:
- weakened immune system due to certain conditions, such as HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or leukemia
- hiatal hernia
- radiation therapy of the chest
- surgery in the chest area
- medications to prevent organ transplant rejection
- immunosuppressive medications used to treat autoimmune diseases
- aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications
- chronic vomiting
- alcohol and cigarette use
- a family history of allergies or esophagitis
Your chance of developing an infection of the esophagus is low if you have a strong immune system.
Your treatment plan will depend on the cause, severity, and type of esophagitis you have.
Other over-the-counter (OTC) medications that may help relieve symptoms include:
- antiviral medications
- antifungal medications
- pain relievers
- oral steroids
If your symptoms of esophagitis are caused by taking certain medications, speak with a doctor about alternatives. You may be required to:
- drink more water
- take a liquid version of the medication
- use a different medication
- refrain from lying down for 30 minutes after taking any medication
Dietary and lifestyle modifications
If food allergies cause your condition, you must identify trigger foods and eliminate them from your diet. The most common food allergens include:
- cow’s milk
- tree nuts
Other common dietary triggers that you may want to avoid if you have esophagitis
- spicy or fatty foods
- acidic foods and drinks
- raw or hard foods
- alcohol and tobacco
Speak with a healthcare professional about your dietary requirements. They may also suggest lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or sleeping with the head of your bed elevated between 30-45 degrees.
You may require a procedure to dilate the esophagus if it becomes too narrow.
Untreated esophagitis can lead to serious health complications related to the function and structure of your esophagus. Some complications may
How long does it take esophagitis to heal?
Esophagitis may take up to
What naturally heals esophagitis?
Some natural home remedies may help relieve symptoms of esophagitis, including:
- staying hydrated
- managing your weight
- not lying down for 30 minutes after eating
- avoiding trigger foods, beverages, and allergens
How serious is esophagitis?
If left untreated, esophagitis may lead to ulcers, scarring, and severe narrowing of the esophagus which can be a medical emergency. Speak with a doctor if you experience any symptoms.
Esophagitis is when your esophagus becomes inflamed or irritated. This may cause symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and trouble swallowing.
Early treatment and lifestyle modifications are typically enough to help relieve symptoms and prevent any serious complications.