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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Esophagitis
Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. Esophagitis can be painful and can make it hard to swallow.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is the most common cause of esophagitis. When you have GERD, stomach acid and juices flow backward into your esophagus. This can irritate the esophagus.
Other causes include:
Common symptoms of esophagitis include:
Sometimes it also causes:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. He or she may do tests such as:
The treatment you need depends on what is causing the esophagitis. If you have esophagitis caused by acid reflux or GERD, your doctor will likely recommend that you change your diet, lose weight if needed, and make other lifestyle changes. Here are some things to try:
If lifestyle changes alone aren't enough to help your esophagitis, your doctor may suggest you try medicines that reduce stomach acid. Reducing the reflux gives the esophagus a chance to heal. Over-the-counter medicines include:
If esophagitis is caused by an infection, you may need to take antibiotics or other medicines to treat the infection.
If you or your child has esophagitis caused by a food allergy, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids.
You might need surgery if you have a tear in your esophagus or if something is blocking your esophagus, such as a tumor.
Current as of
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical ReviewE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicinePeter J. Kahrilas MD - Gastroenterology
Other Works Consulted
Falk G, et al. (2016). Diseases of the esophagus. In L Goldman, A Shafer, eds., Goldman-Cecil Medicine, 24th ed., vol. 1, pp. 896–908. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Current as of:
November 7, 2018
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas MD - Gastroenterology
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