What are the signs of esophagus problems?

Esophagus symptoms include pain or a burning feeling in the throat or chest, and belching. They commonly result from overeating, drinking alcohol while eating, or consuming greasy or spicy foods. Esophagus symptoms can also result from inflammation, infection, or dysfunction in the stomach or esophagus itself.

Impaired motility and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) are other types of esophagus symptoms, which have multiple causes such as ulceration, strictures, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and scleroderma. Tumors, whether inside or alongside the esophagus, can also interfere with swallowing. Abnormalities involving neighboring structures, such as the enlargement of the thyroid and thymus glands, can also adversely impact the normal passage of food and fluids through the esophagus.

Esophagus symptoms may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which the valve between the stomach and the esophagus becomes dysfunctional and allows stomach contents to enter the esophagus. Less common causes of esophagus symptoms are inflammation due to herpesvirus and Candida infections.

Esophagus symptoms may also develop in people who have weakened immune systems, for example as the result of chemotherapy, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), or leukemia (cancer of the blood or bone marrow). It is also possible to acquire esophagus symptoms by taking certain types of pills without drinking enough water.

The duration and course of esophagus symptoms vary widely, depending on the cause. Symptoms caused by certain foods may have a sudden onset. Esophagus symptoms resulting from disease conditions may develop slowly and persist or worsen over time. Certain symptoms such as upper abdominal or chest pain may be due both to conditions of the esophagus, such as heartburn, as well as to heart problems such as angina or heart attack. If these symptoms are due to serious heart conditions, they often will be accompanied by other serious symptoms, including difficulty breathing, bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails, and pain in the shoulder and arm.

In some cases, esophagus symptoms may be a sign of a serious or life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, experience esophagus symptoms along with life-threatening symptoms including chest pressure or palpitations; severe breathing problems; or vomiting blood or black material.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for esophagus symptoms but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with esophagus symptoms?

Esophagus symptoms may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the esophagus and associated digestive organs may also involve other body systems.

Gastrointestinal symptoms that may occur along with esophagus symptoms

Esophagus symptoms may accompany other symptoms affecting the dige... Read more about esophagus symptomssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes esophagus symptoms?

Esophagus symptoms have many possible causes. Most commonly, esophagus symptoms are the result of overeating, drinking alcohol while eating, or consuming greasy or spicy foods. Esophagus symptoms can be caused by digestive conditions such as acid reflux or lactose intolerance. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is another possible cause of esophagus symptoms.

Impaired motility a... Read more about esophagus symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat


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