Esophagitis is the irritation or inflammation of the esophagus – the tube that sends food from mouth to the stomach. Some common causes for it are GERD or gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, allergies and infections, and the consumption of certain medications. Because one of the esophagitis symptoms is dysphagia – a serious condition, you should seek help immediately.
Signs of esophagitis
Common symptoms of esophagitis include –
- Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing
- Odynophagia or painful swallowing
- Acid backing up from the stomach into the esophagus
- Hoarse voice
- Sore throat
- Chest pain that becomes worse after a meal
- Vomiting and nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
Infants and young children may show other symptoms as well, such as –
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
The symptoms may range from mild to severe and can interfere with one’s ability to eat properly.
When to See a Doctor
You should seek medical attention immediately if –
- Chest pain lasts more than a couple of minutes. This is all the more essential for people who have a family history of high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes.
- You feel the food consumed is stuck in your esophagus.
- You are not able to or find it difficult to drink water even in small sips.
What is the treatment for esophagitis?
Esophagitis treatment depends on the underlying causes. Usually, medications and dietary changes are recommended to cure the condition.
Medications to reduce the symptoms include –
- Antifungal, antiviral medications
- Oral steroids
- Proton pump inhibitors to block the production of acid in the stomach
If the condition is triggered by certain food allergens, you must identify and avoid eating them. Examples of some of the most common food allergens are –
- Tree nuts
Avoiding acidic and spicy foods, raw foods, and soft drinks can help ease esophagitis symptoms. Moreover, you should also take smaller bites of your food and chew it well before swallowing. Avoid alcohol consumption and tobacco. Untreated esophagitis may lead to severe health complications, such as oesophageal perforation, Barrett’s esophagus, or stricture of the esophagus.
The outlook for this condition depends on your overall health and the causes behind the condition. Most people show signs of improvement with proper treatment.