Vitamin and mineral supplements, such as
vitamin C, iron, and potassium pills.
Infection. People who have a
weak immune system are more likely to get esophagitis.
This includes people with
diabetes, or kidney problems, as well as older adults
and people who take
Your doctor will ask
about your symptoms and past health. He or she may do tests such as:
endoscopy. During this test, the doctor puts a thin,
flexible tube down your throat to look at your esophagus. This test also lets
the doctor get a sample of the cells to test for infection. Sometimes a small
piece of tissue is removed for a
biopsy. A biopsy is a test that checks for
inflammation or cancer cells.
A barium swallow. This is an X-ray
of the throat and esophagus. Before the X-ray, you will drink a chalky liquid
called barium. Barium coats the inside of your esophagus so that it shows up
better on an X-ray.
How is it treated?
The treatment you need depends
on what is causing the esophagitis. If you have esophagitis caused by
acid reflux or GERD, your doctor will likely recommend
that you change your diet, lose weight if needed, and make other lifestyle
changes. Here are some things to try:
Change your eating habits.
It's best to eat several small meals
instead of two or three large meals.
After you eat, wait 2 to 3
hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren't a good
Chocolate, mint, and alcohol can make GERD worse. They relax
the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
Spicy foods, foods
that have a lot of acid (like tomatoes and oranges), and coffee can make GERD
symptoms worse in some people. If your symptoms are worse after you eat a
certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get
Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco.
you have GERD symptoms at night, raise the head of your bed
6 in. (15 cm) to
8 in. (20 cm) by putting the
frame on blocks or placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress.
(Adding extra pillows does not work.)
Do not wear tight clothing
around your middle.
Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Losing just 5 to
10 pounds can help.
If lifestyle changes alone aren't enough to help your
esophagitis, your doctor may suggest you try medicines that reduce stomach
acid. Reducing the reflux gives the esophagus a chance to heal.
Over-the-counter medicines include:
Antacids, such as Maalox, Mylanta, or Tums.
Stronger acid reducers, such as famotidine (for example, Pepcid),
omeprazole (for example, Prilosec), or ranitidine (for example, Zantac).
If esophagitis is caused by an infection, you may need to
take antibiotics or other medicines to treat the infection.
If you or your child has esophagitis caused by a food allergy, your doctor
may prescribe corticosteroids.
might need surgery if you have a tear in your esophagus or if something is
blocking your esophagus, such as a tumor.
Other Places To Get Help
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
This clearinghouse is a service of the U.S. National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the
U.S. National Institutes of Health. The clearinghouse answers questions;
develops, reviews, and sends out publications; and coordinates information
resources about digestive diseases. Publications produced by the clearinghouse
are reviewed carefully for scientific accuracy, content, and readability.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.