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My sister was diagnosed with esophagitis last week. Before that, she was having trouble with her stomach. We all thought that it will go away and that it was caused by something that she ate. Can you tell me more about this condition?

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Esophagitis is inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the esophagus, the tube that leads from the back of the mouth to the stomach and it is caused by backflow of acid-containing fluid from the stomach to the esophagus. This is called gastroesophageal reflux. It can also be caused by excessive vomiting, surgery and medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, potassium and doxycycline. Esophagitis can be caused by viruses such as herpes or cytomegalovirus, and fungi or yeast, especially Candida infections. The infection or irritation can cause the tissues to become inflamed and this can lead to formation of ulcers. Burning sensation in the esophagus and difficulty swallowing can also be experienced. Treatment of esophagitis depends on the specific cause and if untreated, esophagitis can cause severe discomfort, swallowing difficulty. These swallowing difficulties can go to the extent of causing malnutrition or dehydration, and eventual scarring of the esophagus. Reflux disease requires medications to reduce acid and infections will require antibiotics.
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