Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Esophagitis
irritation or inflammation of the
esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food
from your throat to your stomach.
Esophagitis can be painful and can make it hard to
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is the most common cause of esophagitis. When
you have GERD, stomach acid and juices flow backward into your esophagus. This
can irritate the esophagus.
Other causes include:
Common symptoms of
Sometimes it also causes:
Your doctor will ask
about your symptoms and past health. He or she may do tests such as:
The treatment you need depends
on what is causing the esophagitis. If you have esophagitis caused by
acid reflux or GERD, your doctor will likely recommend
that you change your diet, lose weight if needed, and make other lifestyle
changes. Here are some things to try:
If lifestyle changes alone aren't enough to help your
esophagitis, your doctor may suggest you try medicines that reduce stomach
acid. Reducing the reflux gives the esophagus a chance to heal.
Over-the-counter medicines include:
If esophagitis is caused by an infection, you may need to
take antibiotics or other medicines to treat the infection.
If you or your child has esophagitis caused by a food allergy, your doctor
may prescribe corticosteroids.
might need surgery if you have a tear in your esophagus or if something is
blocking your esophagus, such as a tumor.
Other Works Consulted
Falk G, et al. (2016). Diseases of the esophagus. In L Goldman, A Shafer, eds., Goldman-Cecil Medicine, 24th ed., vol. 1, pp. 896–908. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPeter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as ofNovember 16, 2016
Current as of:
November 16, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.