Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus): Causes, description, Treatment

Throat | Gastroenterology | Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) (Disease)

Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus): Description

Esophagitis is a inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. This inflammation may be due infections, irritation from acid reflux, or other irritants. Symptoms may include : heartburn (pain in chest/abdomen and may radiate to neck/jaw); nausea; postprandial worsening of symptoms; symptoms may be relieved by anatacids.

Forms of infectious esophagitis are typically seen in immunocompromised people. Types include:
(1) candida (Esophageal candidiasis)
(2) Viral : herpes simplex (herpes esophagitis), cytomegalovirus

Causes and Risk factors

The most common cause is the back up of acidic fluid from the stomach – a syndrome call GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). It may be acute or chronic. The acute esophagitis can be catarrhal or phlegmonous, whereas the chronic esophagitis may be hypertrophic or atrophic.

Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus): Treatment and Diagnosis

Endoscopy can be used to distinguish among these conditions.

Treatment for esophagitis will depend on the underlying cause of the disease, but medications such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine H2-receptor antagonists, which reduce stomach acids, are the mainstay of treatment. If the esophagitis is caused by a viral or fungal infection, the treatment will consist in antiviral or antifungal medication

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