Esophagitis Treatment in Montgomery, AL
What Is Esophagitis?
Your esophagus is the long muscular tubal pathway through which food and drink travel from your mouth to your stomach. Esophagitis occurs when stomach acids back up into your esophagus, causing inflammation and damage. This may be due to acid reflux, infection, certain medications or an allergic reaction. Esophagitis can cause symptoms ranging from chest pain to difficulty swallowing.
Because esophagus inflammation can mimic symptoms of a heart attack, you should always consult a healthcare provider to identify your symptoms and provide appropriate treatment. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Montgomery who specializes esophagitis treatment, call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Causes of Esophagitis
There are many different types of esophagitis, and they are generally identified by their causes. The most common types of esophagus and their causes are listed below.
Acid reflux or GERD can cause reflux esophagitis by causing damage to the esophagus when stomach acids regularly back up into the esophagus. While acid reflux is not implicated as a causal factor in other types of esophagitis, it can be a symptom that emerges in any of the types and can exacerbate the other forms of esophagitis.
Food allergies or inhaled allergens like pollen can cause damage to the esophagus, leading to eosinophilic esophagitis.
Certain drugs (e.g., aspirin, NSAIDs, antibiotics, Fosamax, quinidine, etc.) can result in drug-induced esophagitis when the medication is lodged in the esophagus. This occurs when you fail to completely swallow the medication (often due to swallowing with too little water or taking medications when prone).
Infections, whether fungal, viral or bacterial (e.g., Candida albicans) are common causes of esophageal damage. They are most often seen in diabetics or people with compromised immunity like AIDs patients.
Radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment protocols or exposure to radiation in the environment can cause severe damage to the esophagus.
Esophagitis Symptoms & Diagnosis
No matter the cause or type, the most frequently experienced esophagitis symptoms include:
- Food impaction (food lodged in esophagus)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain upon swallowing
- Regurgitation of stomach acids
- Chest pain while eating, often behind the breastbone
- Heartburn or burning that rises from your stomach into your chest
- Coughing or choking
- Mouth sores
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Bad breath
Over time, if left untreated, esophagitis can lead to narrowing of your esophagus and possibly even esophageal cancer.
To determine whether you have esophagitis, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough physical examination, take a full medical history and order certain tests to diagnose the underlying cause of your esophagitis. Diagnosis of esophagitis often requires a barium X-ray or endoscopy, together with other laboratory tests.
Treatment for Esophagitis
Determining how to treat esophagitis will be based on what is causing your esophagitis.
- Reflux esophagitis is often treated with over-the-counter and prescription medications for acid reflux (e.g., antacids, H2 receptor blockers, etc.) or by avoiding spicy and acidic foods.
- Eosinophilic esophagitis can be treated with proton pump inhibitors. Removing the offending allergen(s) from the diet will also be critical for long-term success.
- Infectious esophagitis treatment focuses on eliminating any infections with appropriate medications (antifungal, antiviral or antibiotic).
- Drug-induced esophagitis focuses on discontinuing or replacing medications that may be causing your symptoms.
- Radiation-induced and corrosive esophagitis treatment include interventions ranging from dietary changes and proton-pump inhibitors to pain medications and corrective surgery.
When esophagitis results in severe narrowing of the esophagus or food becoming lodged in the esophagus, dilation of the esophagus may be necessary. Steroids may be prescribed for different types of esophagitis. Taking special "swallowed" (not simply oral) steroids is especially effective. Surgery is sometimes necessary in various conditions, especially in treating certain types of acid reflux conditions. Your healthcare provider may recommend alternative therapies in conjunction with traditional treatment like relaxation therapies or acupuncture.
Esophagitis Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Healing esophagitis often involves certain lifestyle changes and dietary modifications. If you experience esophagitis, you should avoid large meals, eating before bed and eating in a prone position. In addition, the following foods should be avoided:
- High-fat foods
- Food or beverages containing caffeine
- Mint-flavored foods
- Tomato-based foods
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Excessive seasoning or spicy foods
- Garlic, onions and peppers
While your esophagus is healing, you want to look for bland, soft foods that are easy to swallow and will not stick to or irritate the inflamed lining of your esophagus. Foods to eat with esophagitis include:
- Bland vegetables like squash, carrots or peas
- Liquid foods like soups and smoothies
- Aloe vera juice
- Low-fat meat and dairy
It will also be important to maintain a healthy weight and to quit habits which can further damage your esophagus including smoking, alcohol consumption, wearing tight clothes and lying down after eating. If you are suffering from the symptoms of esophagitis, it is essential that you seek the guidance of an experienced, healthcare practitioner. Request more information today about inflamed esophagus treatment. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Alabama Functional Medicine
Address7040 Sydney Curve
Montgomery, AL 36117
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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