Esophageal ulcer are sores that form in the lining of the lower esophagus. The esophagus is also referred to as the gullet. It is the passageway for food that connects the throat to the stomach. This type of ulcers occurs when mucus in the gullet wears off, allowing stomach acid to rise and burn up the gullet walls.
Esophageal Ulcer Causes
Sores in the gullet may be caused by;
- Infection by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria.
- Erosion by stomach acid through acid reflux.
- Taking toxic and corrosive substance
- Inflammation of the esophagus due to medication such as ibuprofen.
- Yeast and virus infections such as candida and herpes
Esophageal Ulcer Symptoms
This form of peptic ulcers is characterized by the following symptoms;
- Burning pain in the chest and heartburn.
- Sour taste in the mouth.
- Lack of appetite.
- Dry cough.
- Severe symptoms may include vomiting blood.
Esophageal Ulcer Pain Relief
Sores in the esophagus can be very discomforting and extremely painful. Esophageal ulcers patients may use the following to ease this pain;
- Use of H2 Blockers such as ranitidine
- Pain medications that can be gargled or swallowed
- Medications that contain calcium carbonate e.g. tums
These medications are not effective when taken alone, rather, doctors prescribe these medicines together to suppress H. pylori growth and production of gastric acid.
Esophageal Ulcer Treatment
The mode of esophageal ulcer treatment depends on the respective causing factor of that ulcers. They include;
- Ulcers caused by H. pylori is treated by antibiotics which kill this bacteria.
- Use of drugs that decrease stomach acid production such as Lansoprazole. These drugs are known as proton pump inhibitors.
- In severe cases, surgery may be conducted.
Esophagus Ulcer Treatment Natural
Other than the above medical treatment plan, esophageal ulcer can be treated and prevented through the following natural means;
- Observing high levels of hygiene to inhibit the spread of H. pylori bacteria.
- Eliminating medications that may be contributing to increased stomach acid production.
- Drinking a lot of water.
- Taking food rich in Vitamin C, fruits, and fiber.
- Avoiding citrus, milk, food high in sugar, garlic, and caffeine that may increase acids produced.
- Refraining from smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Reducing stress through exercising and meditation.
- chewing gum after meals to help increase saliva production.
- staying upright for a couple hours after eating.
Esophageal Ulcer Healing Time
Esophageal ulcer takes several weeks to heal. However, people react differently to medication as others heal faster than others. Some may heal after 2 weeks of taking medication while others may take up to 8 weeks. This difference is due to genes and different severity of reflux esophagitis.
Medications such as rifampicin and antituberculous medications can take 7-9 months for total healing.
Esophageal Cancer occurs along the esophagus. It is more prevalent among men compared to women. It is mainly caused when ‘abnormal cells‘ form a tumor in the gullet or chronic irritation of cells in the gullet.
Types of Esophageal Cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma- This is the most prevalent esophageal cancer in the world.
- Adenocarcinoma; It starts in mucous gland cells that line the lower part of your esophagus.
- sarcoma; This form of cancer occurs in the bones and soft tissues.
- Small Cell Carcinoma; This is a rare type of ulcers that begins in neuroendocrine cells.
Causes and risk factors of esophageal cancer.
- Old age.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Severe H. pylori bacterial infections.
- Genes and family history of stomach cancer.
Prevention for esophageal cancer.
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
- Quit smoking and alcohol drinking.
- Regular exercising.
Signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer
- Difficulty in swallowing due to tumor in the gullet.
- Chest pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Feeling satisfied and full after eating small amounts of food.
- Vomiting blood.
- Egesting dark black stool.
Esophageal cancer treatment
This form of cancer is treated by 3 main processes. However, the choice of treatment is dependant on the causing factor and stage of the cancer. These treatment methods include;
- Radiation therapy
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