The esophagus is the muscular tract that carries food and liquids from your mouth to your stomach. Common esophagus conditions include factors that involve acidic stomach contents to move back up the esophagus, causing numerous issues. Other conditions related to difficulty swallowing.
Common Conditions of the Esophagus
- Barrett’s Esophagus
- Bile Reflux
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – GERD
Achalasia – Esophagus Disorder
Achalasia is a disorder of the esophagus that makes it difficult to move food from the esophagus to the stomach. There is a muscular ring where the esophagus and the stomach meet and it is supposed to relax while swallowing, but with achalasia, the muscle does not relax and the range of muscle movement is reduced. This occurs when nerves of the esophagus are damages. Sometimes this condition is inherited but is mostly just common in middle to older aged adults. Symptoms of this include coughing, heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing solids and liquids. Sometimes a Botox injection in this area can help treat it, as well as medications and surgery.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where intestinal metaplasia takes place. This means the lining of the esophagus is replaced with a lining similar to the intestinal lining. Although the cause is unknown for Barrett’s esophagus, GERD (or acid reflux) is considered to be a factor. Between 2-7% of people are diagnosed with this, and the average age is 55 years old, while men are twice as prone to getting this condition than women. Treatment options include medication, endoscopic therapies, and surgery.
Bile reflux occurs when this digestive liquid backs up into your stomach and esophagus. It can also accompany acid reflux, which is the stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus. Unlike acid reflux, bile reflux cannot be controlled with changes in diet and lifestyle. Instead, it is managed with medication or surgery. The symptoms include frequent heartburn, nausea, severe abdominal pain and vomiting a yellow-green fluid that is bile.
It takes 50 pairs of nerves and muscles to accomplish the act of swallowing. Dysphasia has to do with difficulty swallowing where it takes more time to move food from the esophagus to the stomach and can usually be painful when trying to swallow. Treating this issue can include exercising the esophagus muscles, specific diet changes, as well as inserting a tool to help dilate the opening of the esophagus.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is commonly referred to as acid reflux is one of the most common problems with the esophagus, where the muscles at the bottom end of it don’t close properly, allowing stomach contents, and acidity to come back up, irritating it a lot! This infamously results in heartburn or acid indigestion in the upper chest and significantly damages the esophagus.
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