Overview of Esophagitis
Esophagitis is characterized by inflammation of the esophagus. Esophagus or food pipe is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Esophagitis can lead to scarring and formation of ulcers in the food pipe. It is a painful condition and requires proper medical attention and care. A complication of esophagitis is Barrett’s esophagus which can lead to esophageal cancer. Most cases of esophagitis may resolve on their own but if pain and inflammation of esophagus persist for more than few days than it is necessary to seek medical attention.
Causes and Risk Factors of Esophagitis
The main cause of esophagitis is any kind of bacterial or viral infection. This infection lead to inflammation and irritation of the food pipe. Herpes viral infection can affect the esophagus of immunocompromised individuals. Certain fungal infections, such as Candidiasis can cause esophagitis. Individuals suffering from HIV, diabetes or elderly people who have a weakened immune system are considered to be at high risk of developing esophageal Candidiasis. Certain medical conditions such as vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux diseases, hernias and surgery can lead to esophagitis. Physical injury to esophagus by taking large pill with small amount of water or taking medicine just before going to bed can lead to damage and inflammation of esophagus. Ingestion of toxic compounds can directly damage the esophagus leading to esophagitis. Use of certain drugs such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory medicines can also lead to esophagitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Esophagitis
The main symptoms of esophagitis include nausea, vomiting, sores in mouth, feeling of discomfort in throat, heart burn, and pain in chest while eating, acid reflux, food impaction and painful swallowing. Esophagitis can be a serious issue if an individual feels difficulty eating, have fever, muscular pain, headache, chest pain and shortness of breath shortly after meal.