Any irritation or inflammation that happens within the esophagus or the tube where food moves from the mouth to the stomach, is called esophagitis. The four types of esophagitis are eosinophilic esophagitis, reflux esophagitis, drug-induced esophagitis, and infectious esophagitis. Diagnosis is made upon a physical examination and or diagnostic tests such as an endoscopy, x-ray, or allergy testing. With proper treatment, most patients with a healthy medical history will see improvement in their condition within two to four weeks.
Causes. The cause of esophagitis is dependent upon what type of esophagitis it is. Eosinophilic esophagitis is the result of an abnormally high amount of eosinophils in the esophagus. This occurs when an allergen triggers an excessive response from the body. Common food allergies can cause eosinophilic esophagitis such as milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat. Reflux esophagitis is the result of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition that occurs when stomach acids move backward into the esophagus frequently. Drug-induced esophagitis is the result of medication taking without sufficient amounts of water. When some medications stay in the esophagus for longer then they should, it causes inflammation. Infectious esophagitis happens when fungi, bacteria, parasites, or viruses can infect the esophagus and cause inflammation. This type of esophagitis is common in individuals who have a compromised immune system.