What is esophagitis?

Esophagitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. If it is not treated, esophagitis can become very uncomfortable, causing difficulty in swallowing, and ulcers or scarring of the esophagus. Barrett's esophagus, a complication of acid reflux, is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.

What causes esophagitis?

Esophagitis is an irritation of the esophagus caused by any of the following:

  • A backflow of acid fluid from the stomach to the esophagus (GERD)
  • Vomiting
  • Medications such as aspirin and anti-inflammatories
  • Viruses, fungi, bacteria, or diseases that weaken the immune system

What are the symptoms of esophagitis?

Symptoms of esophagitis include:

  • Difficult and/or painful swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Acid regurgitation (bringing food back up to the mouth from the stomach)

If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.

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