Alternate Names : Inflammation – esophagus
Esophagitis is a general term for any inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the esophagus, the tube that leads from the back of the mouth to the stomach.
- Esophagitis Candida
- Esophagitis CMV
- Esophagitis herpes
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Esophagitis is frequently caused by the backflow of acid-containing fluid from the stomach to the esophagus, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux. An autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic esophagitis also causes this condition.
The following increase your risk of esophagitis:
- Excessive vomiting
- Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, potassium, alendronate, tetracycline, and doxycycline
- Vitamin C supplements
- Surgery or radiation to the chest (for example, treatment for lung cancer)
Persons with weakened immune systems due to HIV and certain medications (such as corticosteroids) may develop infections that lead to esophagitis.
Esophageal infection may be due to fungi, yeast (especially Candida infections), or viruses such as herpes or cytomegalovirus.
Pictures & Images
Esophagus and stomach anatomy
Food is swallowed and passes through the esophagus to the stomach, where the majority of digestion takes place.
The esophagus connects the nose and mouth with the stomach. The epiglottis folds over the trachea when a swallow occurs, to prevent the swallowed substance from being inhaled into the lungs. When a person is unable to swallow because of illness or coma, a tube may be inserted either through the mouth or nose, past the epiglottis, into the esophagus and into the stomach. Nutrients will be passed through the tube directly into the stomach.
Review Date : 7/13/2009
Reviewed By : Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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