Esophagitis

Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus from any cause. It usually results in symptoms of heartburn and sometimes painful or difficult swallowing. Esophagitis usually is caused by acid splashing back into the esophagus from the stomach (GERD), but can also be caused by fungus, medications, viruses or drinking toxins like lye or Draino. The diagnosis is made with upper endoscopy, which can also look for Barrett's Esophagus. Biopsies can point to the cause of the esophagitis, if not clear from the appearance. Sometimes severe damage can lead to narrowing which can be dilated with rubber tubes or balloons at the time of endoscopy. Usually a patient is given powerful acid blocking medications to speed healing, but this depends on the cause of the damage.

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Heartburn is a common affliction for many people, but if left untreated it can lead to complications such as Barrett’s Esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.