Reflux esophagitis is an injury to the lining of the esophagus caused by acidic stomach contents backing up and causing irritation, according to Medscape. The condition is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
The esophagus is the tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. In normal digestion, the sphincter muscle at the lower end of the esophagus opens to allow passage into the stomach and closes to prevent food and stomach juices from flowing back up. GERD occurs when the sphincter is dysfunctional and allows the stomach's contents to back up and irritate the lining of the esophagus, explains WebMD.
The most common treatment for GERD typically begins with over-the-counter or prescriptions medications to control stomach.acid, according to Mayo Clinic. Extreme cases may call for surgery. Patients with GERD are typically advised to make dietary and lifestyle changes, including weight loss and stopping smoking. A number of food triggers, such as fatty or fried foods, tomatoes, garlic, chocolate and onions, and drinks such as alcohol and caffeine should be avoided. For patients that regularly experience heartburn at night or when lying down, the body above the waist should be elevated to avoid reflux symptoms.