What is the esophagus (human anatomy)?
Esophagus (human anatomy) any inflammation or irritation of the esophagus. This is the tube that sends food from the mouth to the stomach. The most common causes are acid reflux, the side effects of certain actions, and bacterial or viral infections. Reflux when stomach contents and acids return to this digestive disorder.
This disorder can cause a variety of symptoms that include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Sore throat
Untreated esophagitis can lead to sores, scars, and severe narrowing of the esophagus, which is a medical emergency. Your treatment options and your outlook depend on the cause of your condition. Most healthy people get better in two to four weeks with proper treatment. Recovery may take longer for those with a weakened immune system or an infection.
Types of esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis is caused by too many eosinophils in the esophagus. This happens when your body overreacts to an allergen. In children, it makes it difficult for them to eat. Common triggers include:
- Tree nuts
Inhaled allergens, such as pollen, can also contribute to this form of esophagitis.
Reflux esophagitis is usually caused by a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD often occurs when stomach contents, such as acids, build up in the esophagus. It causes chronic inflammation and irritation.
Drug-induced esophagus occurs when you take certain medications without enough water. This causes the medication to stay longer in the esophagus. These medications include:
- Potassium chloride
- Bisphosphonates (drugs that prevent bone loss)
Infectious esophagitis is very rare and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. You are at risk for this type of this disease if your immune system is weakened by illness or medication. This type is common in people with HIV or AIDS, cancer, and diabetes.
Symptoms of the esophagus
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Pain when swallowing (odynophagia)
- Sore throat
- Big throat
- Acid reflux
- Chest pain (worse than eating)
- Epigastric abdominal pain
- Decreases appetite.
Very young children may have trouble feeding. Consult your doctor if you or your child have experienced and the following symptoms and:
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain, especially if it does not occur when eating
- Symptoms last more than a few days.
- Symptoms that interfere with your ability to eat properly can be serious
- Headache, muscle aches, or fever
Seek immediate medical attention if:
- You may have chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes, especially if you have a history of heart problems, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- You think you have food stuck in your esophagus.
- You can’t even eat small sips of water.
Risk factors for esophageal development:
- Immunosuppression from HIV or AIDS, diabetes, leukemia, or lymphoma
- Hypothetical hernia (when pushed through the stomach opening into the diaphragm between the esophagus and the stomach)
- Chest radiation therapy
- Breast surgery
- Medications to prevent organ transplant rejection
- Immunosuppressants used to treat autoimmune diseases.
- Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Chronic vomiting
- Is blackberry
- Consumption of alcohol and cigarettes
- Family history of allergies
If you have a healthy immune system, you are less likely to get an esophageal infection.
Potential chronic health problems
The untreated esophagitis can lead to serious health problems related to the function and structure. Questions:
- Barrett’s esophagus, damage to the lining of the esophagitis, leading to a premature change in tissue.
- Tightness or narrowing of the esophagus, which can lead to obstruction and trouble swallowing.
- Holes or ulcers in the esophagus (esophageal perforation)
How is the esophagus diagnosed?
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have esophageal symptoms. Be prepared to provide a complete medical history, including other diagnosed conditions. List all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take.
Your doctor will do a physical exam. They may also order diagnostic tests, including:
- Endoscopy with biopsies
- Barium X-ray is also known as an upper GI series
- Allergy testing, which may include skin tests. Dietary elimination can be discussed after diagnostic endoscopy.