Esophagitis is a common gastrointestinal condition that affects the lining of the esophagus. If left untreated, patients may experience discomfort when swallowing, ulcers or scarring. A condition known as Barrett’s esophagus may develop which dramatically increases patients’ risk for developing esophageal cancer.
What Causes Esophagitis
Most commonly, esophagitis is caused by stomach acid traveling back through the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. Additional irritants include vomiting, surgery, specific medications and hernias.
What are the Symptoms of Esophagitis?
Symptoms of esophagitis may include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, ulcers, nausea and vomiting. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your health provider immediately.
How is Esophagitis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis can be made through a variety of simple health procedures including endoscopy or barium swallow. During an endoscopy, a thin flexible tube is inserted down the throat. In some instances, a biopsy may be performed to check for inflammation or cancer cells.
Can Esophagitis be Treated?
Treatment is dependent upon the cause and severity of symptoms. Simple dietary modifications can drastically reduce acidic gastric material. Some medications can be used to neutralize or inhibit the production of harmful stomach acids. Infectious esophagitis is treated with medication that will eliminate the underlying infection.
Interested in Learning More?
Regional Gi specializes in the treatment of those affected by major gastrointestinal conditions including colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, liver disease and pancreatic cancer. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit www.regionalgi.com/contact. We look forward to serving you!