Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the pharynx to the stomach). If left untreated, it can become very uncomfortable.
The most common causes of esophagitis are:
Patients with esophagitis may experience one or several of the following symptoms:
Chronic inflammation may lead to severe narrowing or stricture of the esophagus, making it more difficult or impossible for patients to eat. Esophageal perforations may also occur, increasing the risk of cancer.
An endoscopy is used to diagnose esophagitis. The procedure involves the insertion of a flexible tube equipped with a camera that allows the physician to examine the esophageal tissue. With this device, the physician can assess whether the mucosa is normal or inflamed. It is also used to detect perforations. A biopsy (a sample of tissue) can be taken to examine the condition of the tissue.
The treatment for esophagitis depends on its cause. If dealing with infectious esophagitis, antibiotics are required. For esophagitis caused by irritation, the first step is taking medication that blocks acid production. In addition to this treatment, the use of analgesics may be necessary to alleviate pain. If treatment remains ineffective, your physician may recommend surgery. Another treatment option, known as mechanical dilation, may also be suggested.
Non pharmacological measures
Several steps can be taken to limit the discomfort caused by esophagitis. These include:
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.