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 is a digestive disorder resulting from weakness or damage to the lower esophageal sphincter, located between the esophagus and the stomach. The weakness or relaxation of this sphincter allows stomach acid to escape into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD are similar to heartburn or indigestion, but do not typically respond to the over the counter treatments that help with normal indigestion. GERD can be caused by a hiatal hernia which weakens the lower esophageal sphincter. 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 is caused by an esophageal tear that will need to be surgically repaired or a tumor, which will also require surgical attention.