What is Esophagitis?
Esophagitis is the inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. Often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), this condition is painful and makes it difficult to swallow. Esophagitis causes symptoms including heartburn, painful swallowing, chest pain, coughing, fever, nausea, and belly pain.
What Causes Esophagitis?
Esophagitis is linked with GERD but has a variety of other contributing factors including:
What Is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition that occurs when stomach contents such as acid and digestive enzymes flow upwards into the esophagus, resulting from weakness of damage to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) situated between the stomach and esophagus. While most common symptom, heartburn, is similar to indigestion, it is usually not alleviated by treatments designed to help patients with normal indigestion symptoms. Patients from in and around Yonkers who suffer from GERD should make appointments for consultations with the doctors at Gastroenterology of Westchester for diagnosis and treatment.
How Is Esophagitis Treated?
Treatment for esophagitis depends on the cause of the condition. If esophagitis is caused by GERD, patients should make behavioral changes that support medical treatment for GERD such as losing weight, eat smaller but more frequent meals, avoid spicy foods or other irritating foods, avoid eating for at least 2 hours before bed, and sleep with their head and shoulders slightly elevated. Your doctor may suggest taking H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors to reduce the amount of acid that is produced by the stomach. If the esophagitis is caused by an infection you may need to take antibiotics or other medications. In some cases, the irritation and inflammation are caused by an esophageal tear that will need to be surgically repaired or a tumor, which will also require surgical attention.
What are Complications of Esophagitis?
If esophagitis is not diagnosed and treated by a physician, it is possible that the condition will worsen and cause discomfort for the patient. Potential complications for esophagitis include narrowing of the esophagus, scarring, bleeding, and continued difficulties swallowing or eating.
Prognosis for Esophagitis Patients
Most patients with esophagitis will find that their condition will respond to medication, however, long term treatment methods. While esophagitis symptoms may return if the patient does not make certain changes to their lifestyle, a healthcare provider at Gastroenterology of Westchester can provide recommendations on routines for medication and lifestyle changes that can lessen symptoms.