Esophagitis is diagnosed when the tissues of your esophagus (the tube running from the throat to the stomach) develop an inflammation that can damage the tissue. It makes swallowing difficult and painful, and can cause heartburn and chest pain. Esophagitis is frequently caused by stomach acids backing up into the esophagus, but can also be a result of infection, oral medications or allergies. If not treated, esophagitis can damage the lining of the esophagus, interfering with its function of moving food and liquid from your mouth to your stomach.
There are two types of Esophagitis:
Connecting your esophagus and stomach is a valve-like structure which usually keeps acidic content in the stomach out of the esophagus. If this valve doesn't close properly, the contents of the stomach may back up into your esophagus. When this backflow of acid becomes an ongoing problem, it’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Eosinophilic refers to white blood cells that are significant in allergic reactions. This type of Esophagitis happens when there is a high concentration of these white blood cells in the esophagus, usually due to an allergic response or acid reflux.
- Pain when swallowing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Food that gets stuck in the esophagus
- Acid regurgitation
- Heartburn or pain in the chest when eating
Treatment for regular Esophagitis may include:
- Over-the-counter treatments including antacids such as Maalox and Mylanta
- Prescription medication such as Zantac, Nexium, Prevacid, or Prilosec
Treatment for Eosinophilic Esophagitis focuses on avoiding allergens and reducing allergic reaction with medications, and may include:
- Proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium, Prevacid, or Prilosec
- Diet and elimination of potential food allergens