Ayurveda

What is Erosive Esophagitis?

Esophagus is the muscular connecting tube between the mouth and the stomach.

Erosive esophagitis

is when cells on the surface of the delicate tissues of the esophagus are damaged from prolonged inflammation (swelling) and ulceration. About 15% of healthy people show some signs of acid reflux.

What are the Causes of Erosive Esophagitis?

Sphincter Muscle Abnormalities

: The sphincter muscle at the base of the esophagus closes and prevents the digestive juices and acids from the stomach get back to the esophagus. When this muscle does not function well it causes acid reflux (GERD-Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease) which keeps damaging the esophagus causing the disease.

Other causes of reflux could be fatty and spicy food intake, fasting, smoking, alcohol, obesity or side effects of medicines.

Excessive Vomiting

: The hydrochloric acid from the stomach may come in touch with the cells of the esophagus directly in case of excessive vomiting. The acid does not damage the stomach as it is protected with a mucous layer. There is no such protection available for the cells of the esophagus and hence they get damaged very soon.

Infections

: A lot of times viral and bacterial infections like that of Helicobacter Pylori could result in this disease when left untreated.

Exposure to Radiation and Chemicals

: Radiation treatment or chemotherapy for treatment of diseases like cancer to the neck and throat regions could lead to esophageal damage.

Congenital (birth) or Muscular defects

: Defects or hole in the diaphragm or Motility problems (muscular dysfunctions) of the esophagus could be a reason for the disease. Diseases like hiatal hernia also aggravate the disease.

Injury

: Injury to the esophagus while swallowing food or drinking chemically potent substances can damage the esophagus leading to the disease.

Symptoms

  • Severe and frequent acid reflux.
  • Pain and burning sensation in the throat.
  • Bitter and sour aftertaste in the mouth.
  • Difficulty and pain in swallowing food.
  • A feeling of something obstructing the throat.
  • Blood in stool and vomit indicative of a severely damaged esophagus.
  • Perforated walls of the esophagus when extremely damaged can lead to high fever and chest pain.

Treatment of Erosive Esophagitis

Treating GERD in the initial stages. As acid reflux could be caused by a lot of commonly prevalent causes like food, side effects of drugs or vomiting etc it becomes very important to target the reason causing acid reflux rather then treating symptoms. Some of the treatments are:

  • Treating acid reflux with antacids and medications like Histamine 2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors.
  • Avoiding oily, fatty, spicy or acidic food can be a good start. Citrus fruits and juices should not be taken.
  • Staying away from tobacco and alcohol.
  • Eating five small meals a day helps.
  • In case of bacterial infections, treatment with antibiotics becomes necessary.
  • Inflammation can be treated with steroids.

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