Esophageal disorders

Esophagus is the tube that facilitates the passing of food from the oral cavity to the stomach. Several conditions affect the esophagus; these include GERD, Barrett's esophagus, and eosinophilic esophagitis. Patients should not ignore symptoms and consult the doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

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  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): This condition occurs when the acid from the stomach frequently flows from the stomach to the esophagus, thereby damaging the esophageal lining. The symptoms of GERD are difficulty swallowing, food regurgitation, heartburn (burning sensation in the chest), abdominal pain, and the feeling of a throat lump.
  • Esophageal Submucosal Lesion: These are malignant or benign lesions that developed below the esophageal mucosa (lining). The types of esophageal lesions include leiomyomas, esophageal cysts, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The symptoms include unexplained weight loss, dysphagia, and abdominal pain.
  • Non-cardiac Chest Pain: Non-cardiac chest pain is a condition characterized by pain in the chest with no involvement of the heart. The pain is similar to that of angina and may be due to GERD or esophageal disorders. Anxiety, depression, and stress also cause chronic chest pain.
  • Esophageal Cancer: It develops in the esophagus. The risk factors for esophageal cancer are obesity, smoking, GERD, alcohol consumption, bile reflux, lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet, and prolonged intake of very hot liquids.
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis: It is a condition caused due to allergic reaction. The patients experience pain and inflammation. There is no smooth contraction of the esophagus. The condition is triggered by environmental allergens, GERD, or food.
  • Barrett’s Esophagus: This condition is caused due to persistent reflux of acid from the stomach to the esophagus, which results in damaging and thickening the esophageal lining. The lower esophageal sphincter may also get damaged, resulting in GERD. Barrett's esophagus enhances the risk of esophageal cancer.
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders: Esophageal motility disorders cause several symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, food regurgitation, and pain. Several types of esophageal motility disorders exist, such as spastic disorder, achalasia, and esophageal scleroderma. The diagnosis of esophageal motility disorders is usually made through an endoscope that measures the pressure in the esophagus as the patient swallow. Treatments depend upon the cause and type of esophageal motility disorder.