The tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach is called esophagus. Inflammation of the esophagus causes esophagitis. This painful condition could obstruct swallowing of foods. If left untreated, esophagitis could cause ulcers and even esophageal cancer.
Causes of esophagitis
Esophagitis develops from either an infection or an irritation in the esophagus. Infection in the esophagus usually occurs when the immune system of the body becomes weak due to an underlying disease such as HIV infection or diabetes. The Candida yeast, which is usually associated with vaginal infection, could cause infection in the esophagus. The herpes virus could also cause esophagitis. Prolonged irritation in the esophagus caused by recurrent acid reflux could trigger esophagus inflammation.
Chronic heartburn and GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease could lead to this disease. Esophagitis could even develop from excess vomiting. Prolonged intake of anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin can irritate the esophagus. Drinking too little water while swallowing large pills can increase the risk of this disease. Hernias can cause this condition. Radiation treatments could trigger esophagitis by irritating the esophagus. You can develop this disease even by swallowing toxins.
Symptoms of esophagitis
People with esophagitis will have difficulty in swallowing foods. They would experience heartburn, nausea and vomiting. They can also have mouth sores.
Esophagitis caused by infection could be treated with antifungal, antibiotics or antiviral medications. Corticosteroids are often prescribed for treating esophagus inflammation. Medications for treating heartburn are recommended to reduce irritation in the esophagus caused by acid reflux. Foods that trigger acid reflux should be avoided. People with esophagitis should also stay away from spicy foods that could irritate the esophagus and worsen the inflammation and discomfort.
Hard foods and raw vegetables that are difficult to swallow should be avoided. People suffering from esophagitis should avoid lemon, oranges, grapefruits, citrus fruit juices, tomatoes, onions, peppermint and white fish. Caffeinated foods and beverages such as coffee and chocolates could increase the discomfort. Gas forming foods and carbonated beverages could worsen the symptoms of esophagitis. People suffering from this disease should not drink hot beverages. To swallow the foods easily, they should take small bites and properly chew the food. Soft and well-cooked food that is easy to swallow should be eaten.