ESOPHAGITIS: TYPES, COMMON SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND TREATMENT OPTIONS
January 25, 2022

What is Esophagitis?

Esophagitis is an inflammation that may damage the tissues of the esophagus. It makes it difficult to swallow food and can be caused by infection, allergies, oral medications, etc.

What is Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

This is a chronic immune system disease. Here, eosinophil (a type of white blood cell) builds up in the lining of the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. This is due to a reaction to allergens, food, or acid reflux and can damage the esophageal tissue. Eosinophilic esophagitis can be very painful and uncomfortable as it can lead to difficulty in swallowing food.

Types of Esophagitis

The common forms of esophagitis are:

  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
    It is a chronic immune system disease that is caused by too many eosinophils present in the esophagus. This happens when the body over-responds to food or allergens. It can make eating difficult for children. Some common triggers include peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, milk, etc.
  • Reflux Esophagitis
    This generally happens due to a condition called GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). It occurs when stomach fluids like acids back up into the esophagus frequently and can cause chronic inflammation of the esophagus.
  • Drug-Induced Esophagitis
    This can occur when a person takes certain medications without sufficient water. This can cause medications to linger in the esophagus for too long. Such medications include potassium chloride, antibiotics, etc.
  • Infectious Esophagitis
    It is a rare condition that can be caused by viruses, fungi, bacteria, or parasites. You can be at a high risk from this type of esophagitis if your immune system is weakened by medications or diseases. Infectious esophagitis is common in people with AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or HIV.

Symptoms of Esophagitis

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Chest pain
  • Food getting stuck in the esophagus

Causes of Esophagitis

  • Medicines like aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS)
  • Allergies
  • Medical procedures like radiation therapy
  • Chronic vomiting

Also read: MYCOTOXINS TOXICITY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

How is Esophagitis Diagnosed?

  • Barium X-ray: After the patient drinks a barium solution (barium coats the lining of the esophagus and makes it visible on x-ray), an x-ray is taken of the esophagus. This allows the doctor to view any abnormality in the esophagus.
  • Endoscopy: A flexible, long, and lighted tube (endoscope) is used to view the esophagus.
  • Biopsy: A mini sample of the esophageal tissue is removed and sent to the lab for examination under a microscope.

How Long Does Esophagitis Last?

In most cases, healthy people take around two to four weeks to improve with proper treatment.
Also read: Osteoporosis: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Treatment

What is the Fastest Way to Treat Esophagitis?

The treatment for esophagitis mainly lessens the symptoms, manage complications, and treats the main cause for it. Treatment can vary depending on the cause of the disorder.

Are you suffering from esophagitis and need treatment? We at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine have a group of experts at your service. Call us at 843-572-1600 to book an appointment now.

January 3, 2018

The classic picture of someone with food intolerances such as gluten, dairy, or soy intolerance is of a chronically thin, pale, listless individual, hovering on the edge of more normal life. Add allergies to the mix and the classic picture gets worse, with clear impairments manifesting both seasonally and year round.

But what if the patient doesn’t fit the classic picture?

Some of our greatest successes at COEM have been with robust, even overtly obese, individuals who rocket through school, sports, and careers, yet complain of stomach pains, fatigue, joint problems, headaches, muscle aches and a thousand varied symptoms that never seem (at least to outside observers) to slow them down. Who would believe their true level of discomfort in the face of that kind of history? We do.
When weight gain accompanies a cluster of symptoms such as listed above, and diets of many different types are followed for weeks on end without much weight loss or relief, we have to think of food allergies and intolerances. For food allergies, placing the patient in our allergy testing room is often enough to throw off the misconception that favored, much-eaten foods couldn’t possibly be part of the problem. Most patients are astonished to see their arm exhibit the angry, raised, red wheals of full-blown allergy to some of their assuredly healthful food choices, but simply aren’t healthful for their own individual body chemistry. A period of 30 to 60 days avoidance may be enough to regain tolerance to the food if then eaten NO MORE than once every 4 to 7 days, but not always. In some cases, longer avoidance, occasionally permanent avoidance, is necessary in order for the patient to feel truly well.

Unlike allergy, for food intolerance, as we’ve written before, it takes a trial strictly off that entire category of foods for at least 4 weeks and often as much as 12 weeks (3 months) before reaching a true gauge of what benefits could be gained by consistent avoidance. The 3 most common intolerances are to:

1) Gluten—in all foods containing wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, barley, and non-gluten-free oats. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy sauce, flour thickeners, etc. are common hidden sources of gluten.

2) Dairy products—in all foods containing milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, whey solids, casein (also sometimes found in soy or rice milk cheeses), etc.

3) Soy products—in all foods containing tofu, soy milk, soy protein, TVP, large amounts of soy lecithin, etc.
Unfortunately, gluten, dairy, and soy all seem to cross-react against each other in terms of the incidence of intolerance and often times all three categories must be strictly avoided for complete relief of all symptoms.

What happens when the intolerant person who has intractable obesity starts avoiding their trigger foods? Often they begin to lose weight, slowly and steadily, without nearly the effort required before. Part of the solution is that their symptoms of fatigue, joint pain, headache, or GI symptoms begin to fade after 4 to 12 weeks on the diet, which gives them much more energy to actively exercise. But mostly it seems that the avoidance of intolerant foods allows the metabolism to heal, the high cortisol levels (triggered by the stress of mal-digested foods) to recede to normal levels, and tendency to insulin resistance to normalize, so weight gain, especially central mid-section obesity, is lost. As the diet is carefully continued, they heal. Now that’s true robustness!