Oesophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus. In most people this is caused by stomach acid repeatedly passing back up into the lower oesophagus.

Sufferers may experience a burning sensation in the lower chest immediately after swallowing hot fluids (e.g. tea or soup), alcohol, concentrated fruit juice or hot fatty foods such as bacon and eggs. A similar discomfort may be felt after meals, on bending or lying flat. Food or fluid may come up into the mouth (regurgitation) especially when lying down or in bed at night. In severe cases a person may wake up coughing or with a choking sensation. A person with oesophagitis may have trouble swallowing, first solid foods and then more liquid foods, with the feeling that it is getting stuck.

You will usually be prescribed medication based on your symptoms.  An acid suppressing medicine like a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) or a H2 Blocker (histamine receptor blocker) which will suppress the acid so the inflammation in your oesophagus can clear.  You are likely then to only need to go back to your GP every so often although if your symptoms persist and/or you are seeing your GP more frequently, they may suggest you continue to take the medication daily or refer you for tests to investigate further.

There are complications which can occur as a result of oesophagitis:

Scarring and narrowing can occur if you have had inflammation for a long period of time although this is uncommon.

Barrett’s Oesophagus can develop when there is a change to the cells when they have repaired.

Cancer of the oesophagus may develop in around 1 or 2 in 100 people who have experienced untreated long term acid reflux.

If you have difficulty or pain swallowing or it feels like food/drinks are sticking, please contact your GP immediately.


Oesophagitis, Heartburn and Acid Reflux | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | Patient