Esophagitis is a condition due to an inflammation of the lining of the lower end of the oesophagus. Esophagus or gullet is a hollow muscular tube about 2 cms in diameter that acts as the 'swallowing pipe' leading to the stomach. Muscles of the esophagus contract in a co-ordinated fashion in one direction to push the food down through a valve like muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter.
Reflux esophagitis is usually caused when the digestive juices containing acids from the stomach, repeatedly move upwards into the lower esophagus (reflux). Normally this is prevented by the one way check valve mentioned earlier called the lower esophageal sphincter.
This condition is also called -
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Esophagitis usually affects over-weight people more commonly especially when they reach the middle age of life. It is estimated that about 30% of adults experience occasional heartburn and about 10% experience heartburn almost daily. Heartburn is more common in pregnancy and about 25% suffer from it.