- n.inflammation of the oesophagus (gullet). Frequent regurgitation of acid and peptic juices from the stomach causes reflux oesophagitis, the commonest form, which may be associated with a hiatus hernia. The main symptoms are heartburn, regurgitation of bitter fluid, and sometimes difficulty in swallowing; complications include bleeding, narrowing (stricture) of the oesophageal canal, ulceration, and Barrett's oesophagus. It is treated by antacid medicines, drugs to reduce acid secretion, weight reduction, and avoidance of bending; in severe cases surgery may be required. Corrosive oesophagitis is caused by the ingestion of caustic acid or alkali. It is often severe and may lead to perforation of the oesophagus or to extensive stricture formation. Treatment includes avoidance of food and administration of antibiotics; later dilatation of the stricture may also be needed. Infective oesophagitis is most commonly due to a fungus (Candida) infection in debilitated patients, especially those being treated with antibiotics, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressant drugs, but is occasionally due to viruses (such as cytomegalovirus or herpesvirus). All these infections are common in patients with AIDS.
Medical dictionary. 2011.