Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size


Esophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. If left untreated, this condition can become very uncomfortable, causing problems with swallowing, ulcers, and scarring of the esophagus. In some instances, a condition known as Barrett's esophagus may develop, which is a risk factor for esophageal cancer.

What Causes Esophagitis?

Esophagitis is caused by an infection or irritation in the esophagus. An infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or diseases that weaken the immune system. Infections that cause esophagitis include:

  • Candida. This is a yeast infection of the esophagus caused by the same fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections. The infection develops in the esophagus when the body's immune system is weak, such as in people with diabetes or HIV. It is usually very treatable with antifungal drugs.
  • Herpes. Like Candida, this viral infection can develop in the esophagus when the body's immune system is weak. It is treatable with antiviral drugs.

Irritation leading to esophagitis may be caused by any of the following:

What Are the Symptoms of Esophagitis?

Symptoms of esophagitis include:

  • Difficult and/or painful swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Mouth sores
  • A feeling of something of being stuck in the throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

How Is Esophagitis Diagnosed?

Once your doctor has performed a thorough physical examination and reviewed your medical history, there are several tests that can be used to diagnose esophagitis. These include:

  • Upper endoscopy . A test in which a long, flexible lighted tube, called an endoscope, is used to view the esophagus.
  • Biopsy. During this test, a small sample of the esophageal tissue is removed and then sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope.
  • Upper GI series (or barium swallow) . During this procedure, X-rays are taken of the esophagus after drinking a barium solution. Barium coats the lining of the esophagus and shows up white on an X-ray. This characteristic enables doctors to view certain abnormalities of the esophagus.

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
top foods for probiotics
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea