Esophagitis

Alternative Names

Inflammation – esophagus

Definition of Esophagitis

Esophagitis is a general term for any inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the esophagus, the tube that leads from the back of the mouth to the stomach.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Esophagitis is frequently caused by the backflow of acid-containing fluid from the stomach to the esophagus, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux. An autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic esophagitis also causes this condition.

Symptoms

The infection or irritation may cause the esophagus to become inflamed. Ulcers may form. Symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

The doctor may perform the following tests:

Treatment

Treatment depends on the specific cause. Reflux disease may require medications to reduce acid. Infections will require antibiotics.

Expectations (prognosis)

The disorders that cause esophagitis usually respond to treatment.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/7/2010

Esophagus and stomach anatomy
Esophagus

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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