Esophagus or the food pipe carries food from the throat into the stomach. Esophagitis is an inflammatory condition of the esophagus, which is associated with painful and difficult swallowing. With changing lifestyle patterns and dietary practices the prevalence of the condition is rapidly increasing throughout the globe.
The most common cause for Esophagitis is GERD or Gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
- Hiatus Hernia
- Excessive use of over the counter medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, diclofinac and aspirin.
- Certain medications meant to treat osteoporosis including alendronate and antibiotics namely tetracycline can also trigger this condition.
- Recurrent infections, especially among individuals with weakened immune system are a common trigger. Individuals with diabetes, HIV and renal disorders are at a high risk of developing this condition.
- Allergies to food like nuts, eggs, dairy products and sea food can also trigger this condition.
- Certain medical conditions like scleroderma are also linked with esophagitis. Radiation therapy meant to treat cancers can also increase the risk of esophagitis.
How To Diagnose Esophagitis?
The evaluation of medical history and clinical examination is usually indicative of this condition. The common symptoms pointing towards this condition include heart burn, water brash, chest pain, difficulty in swallowing food, etc. However certain other investigations may be conclusive in diagnosing this condition,
- Endoscopy is a procedure which involves entering a flexible tube into the throat to view the esophagus. This procedure can help the physician identify the exact location of inflammation along with the severity of damage. Biopsy (i.e. tissue sample) may be collected during the procedure to rule out cancer.
- Barium Swallow is another radiological procedure which uses chalky liquid barium to identify anatomical deformities in the lining of the esophagus.
How To Ease Esophagitis Pain?
There are certain dietary and lifestyle modifications that can help in alleviating some of the symptoms associated with the condition,
- Modify your eating habits. Instead of taking two heavy meals a day, break down your meal to several small meals. Avoid chocolate, alcohol and mint products as they can worsen the symptoms.
- Wait for about two to three hours before lying down after a meal. Avoid spicy foods, tomatoes and oranges, which can worsen the symptoms.
- Avoid heavy exercises that may increase intra-abdominal pressure and trigger regurgitation.
- Avoid smoking or use smokeless tobacco.
- Sleep with your head elevated by about six inches from the rest of the body. This will prevent regurgitation and alleviate some of the symptoms.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing and if you are overweight try to lose some weight.
Natural Remedies For Esophagitis
Here are some home remedies and herbal treatments that can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the condition and cure esophagitis naturally,
- Add a tablespoon of honey and turmeric to a glass of milk and drink three times a day. Turmeric acts like a natural anti-inflammatory agent and reduces inflammation. Honey is a natural anti-microbial and helps curb infection that may have triggered the inflammation. Milk has a soothing effect on the esophagus.
- Boil fresh mint leaves in a bowl of water and drink it after cooling. Mint improves peristalsis and thereby reduces the risk of regurgitation.
- Homeopathic drug Nux Vomica is considered very useful in the management of esophagitis.