Esophagitis is inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. The esophagus or esophagus is a pipe-shaped organ that delivers food from the mouth to the stomach. Esophagitis can cause pain and to difficulity in swallowing and pain in the chest. The duration of healing of esophagitis depends on the cause and the patient's immune system. People with esophagitis with a good immune system can recover after undergoing treatment for 2-4 weeks.
If not treated, esophagitis can damage the esophageal tissue, causing injury or narrowing of the esophagus. Esophagitis can also cause Barrett's eso ph agus , which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
Symptoms of Esophagitis
The symptoms experienced by people with esophagitis are:
- Pain when swallowing
- Difficult to swallow
- Pain in the chest (usually felt behind the sternum when eating)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastric acid feels rising into the esophagus or into the mouth (regurgitation)
- No appetite
If you experience esophagitis, see a doctor immediately when the following symptoms appear:
- Chest pain is like being crushed, especially if you also suffer from heart disease or hypertension.
- Difficulty swallowing water even in small amounts.
- Feeling there is food stuck in the esophagus.
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Causes of Esophagitis
Inflammation of the esophagus or esophagus can be caused by several things, including:
- Reflux (rise) of stomach acid into the esophagus. This condition is caused by a disruption in the valve that functions to hold the contents of the stomach so as not to rise into the esophagus.
- Allergy. This condition results from an allergic reaction triggered by certain foods, such as eggs, milk, wheat, soybeans, or beef. In addition to food, allergic reactions that cause esophagitis can also be triggered by dust.
- Infection. This condition is caused by a bacterial , viral, or fungal infection in the esophageal tissue. Infection of the esophagus mainly occurs in patients who have a weak immune system, such as patients with HIV, cancer, or diabetes .
- Drugs. Some types of drugs, such as antibiotics or painkillers, can cause inflammation of the esophagus if it is too long in the esophagus. Esophageal inflammation can also be triggered by the habit of swallowing drugs without water.
- Have family members who suffer from esophagitis.
- Have allergic diseases, such as asthma or allergic rhinitis .
- Old age.
- Like to eat fatty foods or eat large portions.
- Eating caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, or foods with mint flavor excessively.
- Have the habit of going straight to sleep after eating.
Diagnosis of Esophagitis
After asking about the symptoms felt by the patient, the doctor will do a physical examination. If there is suspicion towards esophagitis, there are several checks that will be recommended by the doctor, namely:
- Endoscopy, to see the condition of the esophagus with the help of a device such as a hose equipped with a camera at the end. This tool will be inserted by mouth. Through endoscopic procedures, esophageal tissue samples can also be taken and then examined in the laboratory.
- Scanning , to see the structure of the esophagus with the help of X-ray rays and special coloring agents made from barium. In this method, the patient is asked to swallow a liquid containing barium before the scan is done.
Treatment and Complications of Esophagitis
Treatment of esophagitis aims to overcome the causes, reduce symptoms, and prevent complications.
Treatment of esophagitis will be adjusted to the cause. Here are some forms of esophagitis treatment based on the cause:
- Reflux of gastric acid . Patients will be given drugs that neutralize stomach acid or reduce stomach acid production. Examples of drugs given are antacids, ranitidine , cimetidine, omeprazole, or lansoprazole. If needed, surgery will be performed to strengthen the valve between the stomach and esophagus.
- Infection. To treat this type of esophagitis, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic, antiviral, or antifungal medication according to the cause of the infection.
- Drugs. Consult again with the doctor who gave the drug. Talk about the benefits and risks of the drug, and ask if the drug can be replaced or stopped, because it causes side effects of esophagitis.
- Allergy. In addition to providing drugs that reduce stomach acid production, doctors will also give anti-allergenic and corticosteroid drugs, and regulate the type of food consumed.
If the esophagitis has experienced complications to make the esophagus narrow, the gastrointestinal surgeon will carry out an operation to dilate it again. The narrowed esophagus can make food stuck when swallowed.
In addition to undergoing treatment from a doctor, there are several things that patients can do to help relieve symptoms while preventing recurrence of esophagitis, namely:
- Stop smoking .
- Lose weight.
- Avoid lying down after eating.
- Elevating the head position during sleep.
- Swallow the medicine with the help of a glass of water.
- Reducing consumption of foods that can increase stomach acid, such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and mint- flavored foods.
Complications of Esophagitis
Esophagitis needs to be handled properly, because if not, esophagitis can cause complications in the form of:
- Esophageal narrowing.
- Barrett's esophagus , where there is a change in the structure of the esophageal wall tissue which makes a person more at risk of developing esophageal cancer .
- Wounds and bleeding in the esophageal wall due to food stuck.