Esophagitis

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder Anand, MD
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What about esophagitis and diet?

Diet is often a key to reducing the symptoms of esophagitis. The GERD diet is aimed at reducing acid reflux, the main cause of esophagitis.

  • Eat low fat, high protein meals
  • Avoid fatty foods
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Avoid acidic foods and beverages such as citrus and tomatoes
  • Avoid foods that may trigger or worsen heartburn including chocolate, mint, onions or garlic
  • Eat smaller meals, more frequently
  • Eat soft foods that are easily digested
  • Stop eating before you feel full
  • Avoid coffee or tea (even decaffeinated), alcohol, and soda

What options are there for pain relief for esophagitis?

Many over-the-counter medications can help neutralize stomach acid and provide short-term relief for the pain of esophagitis caused by acid reflux. Do not take these medications long-term. See a doctor if symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

Pain medications and medications that decrease inflammation such as corticosteroids can be used as adjuncts in the treatment of any inflammatory cause of esophagitis.

What are the complications of esophagitis?

If untreated, esophagitis caused by GERD can lead to bleeding, ulcers, and chronic scarring. This scarring can narrow the esophagus, eventually interfering with the ability to swallow.

A major complication, which occurs in a significant portion of people with chronic or longstanding GERD, is Barrett's esophagus, which increases the risk of esophageal cancer. A very few of those who develop Barrett's esophagus will develop esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Severe esophagitis may lead to difficult or painful swallowing, and malnutrition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2016
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