Esophagitis is nothing but inflammation along the lining of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that sends food from the throat into the stomach. If caught early, this condition can be treated with antifungal medication. However, if left untreated it can cause plenty of discomfort leading to scarring of the esophagus and the development of ulcers. Though rare, it can also sometimes lead to Barrett's esophagus, a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
Esophagitis can be caused by a number of conditions including Herpes, Candida, excess vomiting, surgery, anti-inflammatory medication, GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), radiation reaction, and hernia. It can sometimes also be caused by swallowing a large capsule or pill with little or no water.
Esophagitis Foods to Eat, Avoid
While medication can treat this condition, you can help quicken the healing process by following an appropriate diet.
- If you have been diagnosed with esophagitis, then eliminate spicy foods like pepper, chillies (red and green) and spicy curries from your diet.
- While raw vegetables are healthy, it is best to stay away from them until you are cured of esophagitis. In addition, it is advisable to stay away from hard foods like nuts and crackers. This is because all these can cause difficulty in swallowing.
- When your esophageal lining is inflamed it is a good idea to avoid acidic and citric foods like oranges, tomatoes and grapes. Avoid drinking their juices too as it could aggravate the inflammation.
- You need to keep your strength up, so include cereal (cooked), puddings, protein shakes, and mashed potatoes in your diet. In short, eat foods that are cooked and/or mashed so that you can swallow easily.
- Try and decrease your intake of fat, particularly fried food items, as the excess oil in them can aggravate the condition. Also fried food items are harder to chew and swallow.
- If you can, avoid caffeine. If you need your daily dose of caffeine then ensure you keep it to a minimum, ideally just one cup, and stay away from chocolates until the condition is cured
- This isn't strictly to do with diet, but it is a good idea to refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking as these can cause further damage.
- Esophagitis can make it difficult to eat and swallow so it is best to break the three large meals of the day into several small meals through the day. It is imperative you eat slowly and chew thoroughly before you swallow the food to minimize irritation to the esophagus.
- Drink plenty of water. This condition can make it hard to swallow water too. In such a case, drink from a straw as this makes it easier to swallow.