Esophagitis (or oesophagitis) is inflammation of the esophagus. It may be acute or chronic. Acute esophagitis can be catarrhal or phlegmonous, whereas chronic esophagitis may be hypertrophic or atrophic.
Heartburn (pain in chest - retrosternal)
Postprandial worsening of symptoms
Symptoms may be relieved by antacids. Esophagitis causes symptoms of abdominal pain and vomiting. If not treated, it causes discomfort and scarring of the esophagus. This makes swallowing food more difficult.
Forms of infectious esophagitis are typically seen in immunocompromised people. Types include:Fungal
Candida (Esophageal candidiasis)
Herpes simplex (Herpes esophagitis)
Endoscopy can be used to distinguish among these conditions.The most common cause is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, or GORD in British English). If caused by GERD, the disease is also called reflux esophagitis.
Chemical injury by alkaline or acid solutions may also cause esophagitis, and is usually seen in children, or in adults who attempt suicide by ingestion of caustic substances.
Physical injury resulting from radiation therapy or by nasogastric tubes may also be responsible.
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a poorly understood form of esophagitis, which is thought to be related to food allergies.
Crohn's disease – a type of IBD which is also an autoimmune disease where the immune system inflames the gastrointestinal tract – can cause esophagitis if it attacks the esophagus.
Certain medications, including doxycycline may cause esophagitis if taken incorrectly.
The severity of reflux esophagitis is commonly classified into four grades according to the Los Angeles Classification: