An inflammation of the esophagus is termed as esophagitis, and it can be a tremendously painful condition. This ailment comprises a range of symptoms such as nausea, muscle aches, headaches, trouble swallowing food, heartburn, sore throat, cough, mouth sores, cough, chest pain, etc.
For treating esophagitis, it is crucial to get a medical diagnosis as there are different causes of inflammation, so the treatment options are tailored too. Esophagitis is commonly examined via endoscopy, Barium x-rays, lab tests and allergy tests.
To help you understand esophagitis better, here are some primary types of esophagitis.
- Infectious esophagitis This type of inflammation of the esophagus is quite unusual and occurs due to bacterial, fungal or viral attacks in the esophagus. These can easily spread to the esophagus via throat, stomach or mouth. People who have a fragile immune system are prone to infectious esophagitis. So it is more common in individuals suffering from pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes or HIV. Some of the typical causes of infectious esophagitis are candida, herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, mucormycosis, aspergillosis, etc.
- Eosinophilic esophagitis This condition occurs when numerous white blood cells accumulate causing inflammation of the esophagus. Frequently observed in patients who are suffering from allergies, it is triggered by foods such as peanuts, milk, beans, soy, wheat, eggs, etc. Allergens such pollens can also lead to the onset of eosinophilic esophagitis.
- Drug-induced esophagitis Certain type of medications can cause this kind of esophagitis. It can happen because of low intake of water, which makes the pill linger in the esophagus for a long time. These hovering drugs can eventually cause inflammation of the esophagus. In some cases, they might also cause ulcers. Some of the common forms of oral drugs that can cause esophagitis are painkillers, antibiotics, bisphosphonates, etc.
- Reflux esophagitis It is caused by GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a condition where the consumed food along with the gastric acids backs up into the esophagus from the stomach. This can lead to chronic inflammation of the esophagus.
Based on the diagnosis, the doctor will recommend you with the most viable treatments. These could include OTC drugs, proton pump inhibitors, prescribed medications, oral steroids, surgeries, dietary recommendations and lifestyle changes. Patients with a healthy body can recover within a month. On the other hand, people with a weak immune system might take longer to recuperate.
Remember, if inflammation of the esophagus is left untreated then it can cause irreversible damage to the lining of your esophagus, generate ulcers or even constrict the esophageal tube.