Sometimes, inflammation of the esophagus isn’t only due to acid reflux. According to experts, when our immune system is weak and our defenses get low, this part of our digestive system can get mildly infected. Here we talk about all the causes of this inflammation and how to fix it.
How do I know if I have inflammation of the esophagus?
Inflammation of the esophagus can be due to two causes: normal esophagitis, or infectious esophagitis. A doctor will have to determine which of the two it is using a test to see if it’s due to a virus, bacteria, or just in response to acid reflux. But usually, all three can result in the same symptoms. Let’s see what they are.
1. Difficulty swallowingWhen there is an inflammation or an infection in the esophagus, it spreads throughout the whole region of the throat. Remember that the esophagus is the area between the throat and the stomach, meaning it’s the uppermost part of our digestive system and it’s common for the pain to reach the throat, which becomes inflamed and prevents us from swallowing normally.
2. Mouth sores
Cold sores or canker sores appear because there is an infection somewhere in the body. Usually we experience more infections when our defenses are low, i.e. when our immune system is not well protected and the white blood cells aren’t functioning correctly. The first symptom of esophagitis is usually a cold or a canker sore.
3. CoughDryness and inflammation of the esophagus causes a kind of cough that’s very distinct. This happens when we need moisture in the throat, but it’s so inflamed and dry that we fail to relieve the cough.
It’s important to remember that inflammation of the esophagus can be caused by many things, including acid reflux, a virus like oral herpes or cytomegalovirus (a fungal infection), or a serious illness that’s a threat to our health. This is why in a lot of cases, the most common early symptom we experience is a burning sensation in the stomach. This pain rises up to the throat, but it’s also concentrated in the stomach.
5. A high-grade feverAn increase of just two-tenths of a degree in our body temperature should be enough to indicate something serious is happening inside the body. When we have a high temperature, it’s usually a symptom of infection. Because of this, it’s best to go to the doctor before taking aspirin to try to reduce it. A fever is an indicator that something is going on – don’t ignore it.
Inflammation of the esophagus rises all the way to the throat, and when it’s swollen like that, airflow outward is obstructed, which leads to snoring. Obviously having only this symptom doesn’t imply that something is wrong, but if it’s accompanied by a sore throat and a stomach ache, take it seriously and talk to your doctor.
Treatments for esophageal infectionsYour doctor will define the course of treatment that you should take, which is usually a series of antibiotics over eight or ten days to see how it progresses. But it’s most important to know the cause of the infection: Was it a virus? Are our defenses low and now we need to take better care of our immune system? There are tests that will give us answers about the origin of the infection. In the meantime, what can we do at home?
- Teas made with aloe: aloe vera is ideal for treating infections and reducing inflammation. The plant is a natural antibacterial agent and helps solve all types of inflammations, both internal and external, which is why we recommend that you mix gel from the aloe plant in one liter of water and drink it every day, for at least 6 days. How do you make it? It’s easy – scrape two tablespoons of gel from the plant, using care not to cut yourself on the spiny leaf, and add it to a cup of boiling water until mixed well. Then add three glasses of water to the mixture, and drink it throughout the day. Make sure it’s always lukewarm in temperature, i.e. neither hot nor cold, so that it doesn’t irritate the stomach or the esophagus.
- Ginger tea: ginger is another natural antibiotic that promotes healing and inflammation. Ideally, you should drink two cups a day of a tea made from the root. Just grate a tablespoon of ginger into each cup. And remember, don’t drink these teas at hot temperatures – they are best when consumed at room temperature.