What is Oesophagitis?

Oesophagitis is an inflammation of the oesophagus, the hollow package of muscle between the throat and the stomach which passes food from the mouth to the stomach. It’s a common illness that can be diagnosed by the symptoms which vary depending on the type of oesophagitis you are suffering from.

What are the common causes of oesophagitis?

Oesophagitis is usually caused by the reflux of acidic stomach contents, with or without a burning sensation which is known as heartburn. The acid from the stomach can irritate the lining of the oesophagus and cause inflammation and soreness. Other common causes of oesophagitis include:

  • Infection – Bacterial, viral or fungal infections in the oesophagus can cause oesophagitis.
  • Certain medications – Some medications, such as aspirin or some antibiotics can irritate the lining of the oesophagus.
  • Radiation treatment – Radiotherapy used to treat cancer can damage the tissues in the oesophagus and cause oesophagitis.
  • Allergy – An allergic reaction to a food or other substance can cause oesophagitis.
  • Gastrointestinal issues - Certain gastrointestinal issues, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), can contribute to the development of oesophagitis.

What are the symptoms of oesophagitis?

The symptom of oesophagitis can vary depending on the individual and the type of oesophagitis they have. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the chest area or throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Burning in the throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

How is Oesophagitis treated?

The treatment for oesophagitis will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. It may include:

  • Medication – Antacids such as Probiotics or Proton Pump Inhibitors can reduce the production of stomach acid, relieving symptoms.
  • Diet – Low-fat, low-acid foods can help to reduce the irritation to the oesophagus and reduce the symptoms.
  • Surgery – In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to strengthen the sphincter muscle at the base of the oesophagus, reducing the amount of acid which can flow into the oesophagus.

If you have symptoms which may indicate oesophagitis it is important to see your doctor so that they can diagnose and treat the condition.