Hydrochloric acid, located in the stomach, is a very aggressive medium, but performs important functions for the body. Often, due to external and internal factors, aggressive acid or bile from the stomach, gall bladder enters the esophagus, causing heartburn, belching, in some cases, sensations of a lump in the throat, coughing, shortness of breath, etc.
Esophagitis – Symptoms
The very concept of esophagitis means an ailment associated with damage to the esophagus. Damage to this organ is caused not only due to acid reflux, but also by physical factors, third-party chemicals, thermal burns and pathogenic bacteria. Symptoms of reflux esophagitis, regardless of the cause, are similar to esophagitis of different etiologies, the patient feels:
- pain behind the sternum;
- frequent heartburn;
- difficulty swallowing;
- belching sour;
- sensation of “coma” in the throat;
- labored breathing.
Exacerbation of reflux symptoms occurs after eating, changes in body position (in a horizontal position, aggravated). Symptoms of esophagitis in its chronic state are accompanied by completely non-digestive problems: tooth disease (enamel destruction), cough, hoarse voice, and distal esophagitis can be completely asymptomatic. Such an ailment must necessarily be correctly diagnosed using esophagoscopy, X-ray examination and treated, otherwise it can lead to peptic ulcer or esophageal stenosis, the appearance of diverticulum.
The reason why this disease worsens is often an extensive infection or a viral disease. There are cases when there are signs of reflux esophagitis due to herpes simplex disease, damage to a fungus of the genus Candida. In children, allergic esophagitis often occurs due to malnutrition. In this case, inflammation can be treated with a special diet. Inflammation can be provoked by chemical, thermal burns of the esophagus.
For some reason, both external and internal, chronic reflux esophagitis can develop. Inflammation of this kind often provokes incorrect or incomplete treatment of the acute manifestation of the disease, non-compliance with the diet. The ailment becomes chronic, if there are problems with the evacuation function of the affected organ, then congestive esophagitis develops. With food allergies or bronchial asthma, there is a greater risk of developing chronic pathology of the esophagus.
Exacerbation of reflux esophagitis – symptoms
The course of the inflammatory process has a different nature, which is due to the difference in the factors provoking the disease, so inflammation happens:
Symptoms of esophagitis in aggravated form, regardless of the cause, are of a similar nature:
- discomfort when food moves along the esophagus;
- neck pain;
- burning, sharp pain in the course of moving food to the stomach;
- difficulty swallowing.
Esophagitis – treatment
It is important to immediately go to the doctor if any of the previously described symptoms appear, so that the gastroenterologist conducts an adequate diagnosis of your case, using esophagomanometry, esophagoscopy. To identify the level of acidity inside the stomach, a monitor pH-meter of the esophagus is performed. After a complete professional diagnosis, the doctor will find out if you have esophagitis – the symptoms and treatment of which may differ depending on the provoking factor. Treatment of reflux esophagitis according to the general scheme is started conservatively, prescribing:
- antisecretory drugs;
- electrophoresis using novocaine;
- derivatives of alginic acid.
How to treat esophagitis if the disease has developed into a chronic form? In such cases and in those cases when complications also appear, sometimes with the threat of transition to oncology, more stringent measures are used – surgical intervention. Before the operation, an esophagus pH is additionally measured to determine the state of the organ after conservative treatment and the degree of its antireflux protection.
Erosive Reflux Esophagitis
This form of inflammation cannot be asymptomatic, it is already the next stage of other types of inflammation. Erosive reflux, based on the name, proceeds in an erosive form. There may be several erosions on the mucosa, which are clearly visible when examining the esophagus, the symptoms of reflux in this case are pronounced: heartburn, hiccups, acute pain in the sternum. Despite the seriousness of the name, erosive inflammation has favorable prognoses with adequate therapy.
Such a course of the disease, as catarrhal reflux esophagitis, is more common and not as dangerous as its erosive form. The catarrhal process is characterized by the presence of hyperemia, swelling of the mucosa. It has an acute and chronic form of development, which differ in symptoms and cause: the acute process occurs due to exposure to aggressive factors (food, chemicals, alcohol, etc.). This form is treated without surgical intervention conservatively with the help of a diet, taking antacids, prokinetics under the supervision of a treating gastroenterologist.
The disease can be classified not only by the nature of the inflammatory process, but also by its localization, distribution. With their names, total, proximal and distal reflux esophagitis characterizes the area affected by the disease. The distal esophagus is first exposed to negative factors from the stomach, as located in the vicinity of the digestive organ, therefore, the disease is often diagnosed in the area of this department. Treatment in this case involves the use of antacids.
Superficial reflux esophagitis is often considered the least dangerous, when during the disease only the superficial layer of the mucosa is damaged without penetrating deep into the tissues. Acute superficial inflammation provokes mechanical damage, infection, but it is easily treatable. However, the chronic nature of such damage to the mucosa carries a hidden threat: gradually destroyed cells of the surface layer can quietly develop into dangerous pathologies, up to cancer.
The process of damage to the part of the esophagus that adjoins the stomach is called terminal esophagitis. A similar diagnosis is made more often than others for the reason that this section (subphrenic) of the esophagus is most exposed to the digestive juice of the stomach, if there are digestive problems. Terminal inflammation can lead to total, as well as complicated by reflux tracheitis and reflux bronchitis. The subphrenic part suffers with professional esophagitis, the symptoms and treatment of which are similar to the terminal one.
It differs from all the processes described above biliary reflux esophagitis in that in the pathogenesis there is a reflux of not only gastric juice into the esophagus, but also the contents of the duodenum – bile. Symptoms also differ in this case: bitterness in the mouth is present, intestinal motility is impaired, which leads to problems with stools (diarrhea alternate with constipation), “jams” in the corners of the mouth, bloating, general lethargy. General digestion leads to weight loss, anemia, vitamin deficiency.
The name of the disease itself – non-erosive reflux esophagitis indicates the nature of its course: there are no ulcers that can be seen with endoscopy. With the non-erosive form of the disease, deeper layers of the organ tissue are affected, therefore it is dangerous with serious complications, such as perforation of the organ wall, perforation by a foreign body often provokes purulent processes. Non-erosive inflammatory process is easily treated by normalizing nutrition, antacids are sometimes prescribed.