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Esophagus Disorders

Summary

The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food, and liquids from your mouth to the stomach. You may not be aware of your esophagus until you swallow something too large, too hot, or too cold. You may also notice it when something is wrong. You may feel pain or have trouble swallowing.

The most common problem with the esophagus is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). With GERD, a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Over time, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus.

Other problems include heartburn, cancer, and esophagitis. Doctors may use various tests to make a diagnosis. These include imaging tests, an upper endoscopy, and a biopsy.

Treatment depends on the problem. Some problems get better with over-the-counter medicines or changes in diet. Others may need prescription medicines or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

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Diagnosis and Tests

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in
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Treatments and Therapies

Related Issues

  • (International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders)

Specifics

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders)
  • (American College of Gastroenterology)
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  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in

Find an Expert

  • (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy)
  • (American College of Gastroenterology)
  • (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • (Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons)

Children

Patient Handouts

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