Esophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus or esophagus , which is the organ that functions to transport food from the mouth to the stomach. This condition is characterized by pain and difficulty swallowing, as well as pain in the chest   .

If left untreated, esophagitis can damage the esophageal tissue , causing injury or narrowing of the esophagus. Esophagitis can also cause Barrett's esophagus disease , which increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

The healing time of esophagitis depends on the cause and the patient's immune system. Patients with good immune systems generally recover after 2-4 weeks of treatment.

Causes of Esophagitis

Inflammation of the esophagus or esophagus can be caused by the following conditions:

  • Reflux (rise) of stomach acid into the esophagus
    This condition is caused by a disturbance in the valve that functions to hold stomach contents from rising into the esophagus.
  • Allergies
    This condition is caused by an allergic reaction that is triggered by certain foods, such as eggs, milk, wheat, soybeans, or beef. Apart from food, allergic reactions that cause esophagitis can also be caused by dust.
  • Infection
    Bacteria , viruses, or fungi can infect the esophageal tissue. Infection is more often experienced by people who have weak immune systems, for example people with HIV, cancer, or diabetes .
  • Medications
    Medications, such as antibiotics or pain relievers, can cause inflammation of the esophagus if they stay in the esophagus for too long. In addition, the habit of swallowing drugs without water can also trigger inflammation of the esophagus.

In addition to the causes above, there are a number of factors that can make a person more at risk of developing esophagitis, namely:

  • Aged
  • Having a family member who suffers from esophagitis
  • Suffer from allergic diseases, such as asthma or allergic rhinitis
  • Often eat fatty foods or eat large portions
  • Excessive consumption of chocolate, mint -flavored foods , and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
  • Have a habit of going to bed immediately after eating
  • Suffering from excess weight
  • Smoking

Symptoms of Esophagitis

Symptoms experienced by sufferers of esophagitis include:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Difficult to swallow
  • Pain in the chest (usually felt behind the breastbone when eating)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn ( heartburn )
  • Stomach acid feels up into the esophagus or into the mouth (regurgitation)

In children, esophagitis is characterized by difficulty eating or swallowing breast milk, and growth retardation.

When to see a doctor

Check with your doctor if you experience the above symptoms, especially if:

  • Symptoms last for several days and do not go away even after taking over -the-counter antacid drugs
  • Symptoms are severe enough to cause difficulty eating
  • The above symptoms are accompanied by fever, headache and muscle aches
  • Symptoms of chest pain that last for several minutes
  • Sore in the mouth or throat when eating
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain appears shortly after eating
  • Have you ever had chest pain or had heart disease?
  • Food seems to be stuck in the esophagus

Diagnosis Esofagitis

The doctor will ask about the symptoms felt by the patient, then do a physical examination. If the patient is suspected of having esophagitis, the doctor will carry out several examinations, namely:

  • Endoscopy
    Endoscopy aims to see the condition of the esophagus by inserting a camera tube (endoscope) through the mouth. Through this procedure, the doctor can also take a sample of tissue in the esophagus to be examined in a laboratory.
  • Scanning The scanning
    test that is carried out is an X-ray photo with the help of a special dye made from barium. In this method, the doctor will ask the patient to swallow a liquid barium before carrying out the scan.

Esophagitis Treatment

Treatment of esophagitis aims to address the cause, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications. Actions performed by doctors include:

  • Prescribe stomach acid neutralizing drugs, such as antacids, omeprazole, or lansoprazole
  • Give corticosteroid drugs , such as fluticasone and budesonide
  • Prescribing an antibiotic, antiviral, or antifungal medication , depending on the type of infection
  • Give anti-allergic drugs and regulate the type of food consumed
  • Undergoing surgical procedures, to strengthen the valve between the stomach and esophagus

If esophagitis has caused complications and makes the esophagus narrow, the doctor will perform surgery to widen it again. The goal is that food does not get stuck again when swallowed.

Esophagitis Complications

Esophagitis that is not treated properly can cause complications in the form of:

  • Narrowing (stricture) of the esophagus
  • Barrett's esophagus , which is damage to the esophageal wall that makes a person more at risk of esophageal cancer
  • Wounds and bleeding in the esophageal wall due to stuck food

Esophagitis Prevention

There are several efforts that patients can take to help relieve symptoms of esophagitis and prevent the disease from recurring, namely:

  • Stop smoking
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid eating spicy, sour and oily food
  • Lose weight
  • Do not lie down immediately after eating or taking medicine
  • Elevating the head position while sleeping
  • Swallow the medicine with the help of a glass of water
  • Eat little by little and chew it until it's smooth
  • Reducing consumption of foods or drinks that can increase stomach acid, such as coffee, chocolate, and foods with mint flavors
Back to blog