What Is Esophagitis ?
When the lining of the tube which carries the food that you eat from the mouth to the stomach i.e. the esophagus is inflamed, the condition is known as esophagitis. If the condition is not treated, this can turn serious and cause problems in swallowing, scarring and narrowing of the esophagus and ulcers.
There are different kinds of esophagitis:
- Reflux Esophagitis: When the stomach acid gets into the food pipe and irritates the esophagus and causes heartburn. This is known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD can damage the esophageal tissue and the swelling caused is known as reflux esophagitis.
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis: When white blood cells accumulate in the esophagus. This may be caused due to allergies to milk, wheat, eggs, soy, beans, rye, beef, nuts or pollen.
- Drug-Induced Esophagitis: Also known as medication-induced or pill-induced esophagitis. This is caused due to injury or irritation of the esophagus caused by taking pills without sufficient water.
- Infectious Esophagitis: This can be caused due to bacterial, viral or fungal infections and occur in those with weak immune systems suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes or those taking antibiotics or steroids.
- Lymphocytic Esophagitis: Occurs when there is a presence of a large number of lymphocytes in the esophagus.
- Erosive Esophagitis: When the condition of esophagitis starts wearing away the esophageal lining, it is known as erosive esophagitis. This is caused due to acid reflux, taking certain pills or drinking corrosive liquids. This causes erosion or lesions in the esophagus, which is very painful.
What Are The Symptoms Of Esophagitis ?
Some of the symptoms of esophagitis are:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Difficulty and pain when swallowing
- Foods gets stuck in the esophagus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heartburn and pain in the chest while eating
- Lack of appetite, a cough
- Sores in the mouth
What Are The Causes Of Esophagitis ?
Esophagitis can be caused due to:
- Infections due to virus, bacteria, fungus or any disease (herpes, candida, etc.)
- Irritation causing esophagitis:
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), surgery, vomiting
- Medications (anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin)
- Trying to swallow a big pill with very little or without any water or taking it before bedtime.
- Hernias, swallowing some toxic substance
- Injury due to radiation, allergies
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Esophagitis ?
- Losing weight can help to prevent the condition of esophagitis.
- Stay upright while you’re eating food and after eating remain upright for around 2-3 hours.
- Raise your bed by around 4-6 inches by putting blocks under the bed head. Avoid using pillows as this can exert pressure on the abdomen.
- Follow a healthy diet that does not irritate the esophagus.
- Take small bites of your food and chew the food slowly and properly to reduce the irritation caused to the esophagus.
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals instead of 3 large ones.
- Eat foods that are soft and easy to digest.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Use a straw to make drinking liquids easier.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Esophagitis ?
- Avoid eating 3 hours before going to bed or lying down.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes, as this can worsen the esophagitis condition.
- Avoid medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. as these irritate the esophagus.
- Avoid overeating and stop eating before you feel full.
- Avoid bending or stooping especially after eating.
What Are The Best Foods For Esophagitis ?
- Eat foods such as cooked cereal, protein shakes, mashed potatoes, puddings that are easy to swallow and also give you strength.
- Eat soft cooked or canned vegetables and fruits such as bananas, peaches, avocados, spinach, squash. You can have these boiled, baked, mashed or creamed to make them easier to swallow and so that they do not stick to the lining of the esophagus and irritate it.
- Have dairy products such as milk, soft cheese, and yogurt. Make sure that you choose low-fat foods over full-fat or those that are high in saturated fat.
- You can eat soft foods such as puddings, custard, cottage cheese, ice cream, etc.
- Cooked ready-to-eat cereals, rolls, white rice, white bread, and pasta are foods that are tolerated well and you can easily if you are suffering from esophagitis.
What Are The Worst Foods For Esophagitis ?
- Avoid spicy foods, spicy curries, chilies, and pepper from your diet as they can irritate the esophagus and worsen the condition of esophagitis.
- Avoid citrus fruits and fruit juices like oranges, grapes, tomatoes, grapefruit and their juices as they aggravate the condition of esophagitis.
- Avoid alcohol and beverages containing caffeine such as coffee, sports, and energy drinks, tea, etc. as they irritate the esophageal lining.
- Avoid raw vegetable and fruits, crackers, whole grains, seeds and nuts as they may be difficult to swallow by the person suffering from esophagitis.
- Avoid fatty and fried foods as the excess oil can worsen the condition of esophagitis. Also, these foods are more difficult to swallow.
- Avoid chocolate as this can worsen the esophagitis.
What Are The Medicines For Esophagitis ?
What Are The Tips To Manage Esophagitis ?
Some home remedies for esophagitis are:
- Following techniques such as guided imagery, muscle relaxation, meditation, breathing techniques, walking or taking up some calming activity can help to reduce stress and anxiety and help in reducing reflux and heartburn associated with esophagitis.
- Acupuncture can help to reduce the heartburn caused by esophagitis.
- You can use herbs such as marshmallow, chamomile, slippery elm, licorice, etc. as a remedy for reflux and heartburn. However, before you take any herbal remedies, it is a good idea to check with your doctor.
- Aloe vera juice can help to calm the digestive ducts and can help to reduce the pain caused by the condition of esophagitis.
- Mix a1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water and have this before meals for relief from the symptoms of esophagitis.
- Eating red apples can help to prevent the inflammation, irritation and acid reflux caused due to esophagitis.
- Raw ginger can help to treat heartburn, reflux and stomach ailments. You can chew raw ginger or include it in your diet or drink ginger tea for relief from the symptoms caused by esophagitis.
- Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in water and drink it before the fizzing stops for quick relief from heartburn and acid reflux caused by esophagitis. However, you should avoid this if you suffer from high blood pressure.