• Definition

    Esophagitis is a general term for any inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the esophagus, the tube that leads from the back of the mouth to the stomach.

    See also:

    • Esophagitis Candida
    • Esophagitis CMV
    • Esophagitis herpes

    Alternative Names

    Inflammation - esophagus

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Esophagitis is frequently caused by the backflow of acid-containing fluid from the stomach to the esophagus, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux. An autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic esophagitis also causes this condition.

    The following increase your risk of esophagitis:

    • Alcohol use
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Surgery or radiation to the chest (for example, treatment for lung cancer)
    • Taking certain medications without plenty of water especially alendronate, tetracycline, doxycycline, and vitamin C
      • Vomiting

    Persons with weakened immune systems due to HIV and certain medications (such as corticosteroids) may develop infections that lead to esophagitis.

    Esophageal infection may be due to fungi, yeast (especially Candida infections), or viruses such as herpes or cytomegalovirus.