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Condition

Esophagitis

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Esophagitis?

Esophagitis is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus becomes swollen, inflamed, or irritated. The esophagus is the tube that leads from your mouth to the stomach. It is also called the food pipe.

What are the alternative names for Esophagitis?

Inflammation - esophagus; Erosive esophagitis; Ulcerative esophagitis; Eosinophilic esophagitis

What are the causes for Esophagitis?

Esophagitis is often caused by stomach fluid that flows back into the food pipe. The fluid contains acid, which irritates the tissue. This problem is called gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). An autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic esophagitis also causes this condition.

The following increase your risk for this condition:

  • Alcohol use
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Surgery or radiation to the chest (for example, treatment for lung cancer)
  • Taking certain medicines such as alendronate, doxycycline, ibandronate, risedronate, tetracycline, potassium tablets, and vitamin C, without drinking plenty of water
  • Vomiting
  • Lying down after eating a large meal

People who have a weakened immune system may develop infections. Infections may lead to swelling of the food pipe. Infection may be due to:

  • Fungi or yeast (most often Candida)
  • Viruses, such as herpes or cytomegalovirus

What are the symptoms for Esophagitis?

The infection or irritation may cause the food pipe to become inflamed. Sores called ulcers may form.

Symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Painful swallowing
  • Heartburn (acid reflux)
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat

What are the current treatments for Esophagitis?

Treatment depends on the cause. Common treatment options are:

  • Medicines that reduce stomach acid in case of reflux disease
  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Medicines and diet changes to treat eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Medicines to coat the lining of the food pipe to treat damage related to pills

You should stop taking medicines that damage the lining of the esophagus. Take your pills with plenty of water. Avoid lying down immediately after taking the pill.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Esophagitis?

Most of the time, the disorders that cause swelling and inflammation of the food pipe, respond to treatment.

What are the possible complications for Esophagitis?

If not treated, this condition may cause severe discomfort. Scarring (stricture) of the food pipe may develop. This can cause swallowing problems.

A condition called Barrett esophagus (BE) can develop after years of GERD. Rarely, BE may lead to cancer of the food pipe.

When should I contact a medical professional for Esophagitis?

Call your health care provider if you have:

  • Frequent symptoms of esophagitis
  • Difficulty swallowing
Esophagus
Esophagus

REFERENCES

Falk GW, Katzka DA. Diseases of the esophagus. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 138.

Graman PS. Esophagitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 99.

Richter JE, Friedenberg FK. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 44.

Latest Research

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  • Journal: Cancer control : journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Treatment Used: Sequential vs. Concurrent Thoracic Radiotherapy Combined with Cisplatin and Etoposide
  • Number of Patients: 93
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This study explored the optimal combination model of thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) and chemotherapy in patients with N3 limited-stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC).
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In this study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of treating locally advanced lung cancer with continuous hyperfractionated accelerated radiotherapy week end-less and neoadjuvant chemotherapy.