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Esophagitis (cont.)

Esophagitis Diagnosis

Once the doctor has performed a thorough physical examination and reviewed the patient's medical history, medications may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. If medications do not work, a doctor may refer the patient to a gastroenterologist, a physician who specializes in gastrointestinal disorders.

The gastroenterologist may recommend specialized tests to look for the cause and extent of the esophagitis. These tests include:

  • Upper endoscopy: This is a test in which an endoscope is used to look directly into the esophagus and stomach. This is usually done as an outpatient procedure under mild sedation. During this procedure, samples of tissue may be taken (biopsy) to assess the severity of the damage to the esophagus.
  • Upper GI series or barium swallow: This is a test where X-rays are taken of the esophagus after drinking a barium solution. Barium coats the lining of the esophagus and appears white on an X-ray. This test shows the location and extent of damage to the esophagus.

Esophagitis Treatment

Patient Comments

Treatment for esophagitis depends on its cause.

  • If esophagitis is caused by an infection, it is treated with medications to eliminate the infection.
  • If esophagitis is caused by acid reflux it is treated with medications that block acid production, for example, heartburn drugs. Depending on the cause of the reflux, different types of medications may be prescribed. In some cases, a surgical procedure may be recommended to treat the problem.
  • If esophagitis is due to a medical procedure the patient may need to be maintained on acid blocking medications chronically. If the cause is due to taking medications, the patient may need to change those medications. Always consult a physician before stopping or changing medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016
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