Esophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
It is most commonly caused by stomach contents, including acid, traveling back up into the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Esophagitis can also be caused by infection with viruses or yeast, medications, or radiation therapy.
Symptoms of esophagitis may include heartburn, pain with swallowing, or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
Diagnosis is typically made by passing a flexible tube through the mouth into the esophagus to directly visualize the lining of the esophagus (a process known as an endoscopy).
Treatment of esophagitis related to GERD is aimed at reducing reflux of acidic gastric material. This can usually be achieved through lifestyle modification, dietary changes, and medications to neutralize or inhibit the production of stomach acid. Infectious esophagitis is treated with medication that will eliminate the underlying infection.