Esophagitis is any irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. It can be painful and can make swallowing difficult.

The most common cause of esophagitis is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a condition in which stomach acid and juices flow backward into your esophagus. Smoking, drinking alcohol, surgery, vomiting and taking certain medications without enough water, especially alendronate, doxycycline, ibandronate, risedronate, tetracycline, and vitamin C, can also contribute to esophagitis. Fungi, yeast or viruses such as herpes or cytomegalovirus can also cause esophageal infection.

An infection or irritation that contributes to the esophagus becoming inflamed may cause coughing, painful swallowing, ulcers, heartburn, hoarseness and/or sore throat.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Dr. Jones may perform an endoscopy or barium swallow, and treatment will depend on the cause. Reflux disease may be treated with medications to reduce acid, and Dr. Jones may recommend lifestyle and diet changes. Infections may be treated with antibiotics.

Esophagitis can cause severe discomfort, and if left untreated may lead to eventual scarring that can cause difficulty swallowing food or medications.