The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects the mouth and the stomach. The food chewed from the mouth reaches the stomach via the esophagus. Several conditions can badly affect the structure and function of the esophagus that can cause pain and irritation such as the following:
- Persistent regurgitation of food from the stomach into the esophagus and irritation of the esophagus which is also known as acid reflux.
- An inflammation of the esophagus caused by alcohol and use of tobacco. Other factors that can cause inflammation include viruses, fungus, vomiting, bacterial infections and certain medications.
- Malfunctioning in the two esophageal sphincters bothers the passage of food through the esophagus and can cause pain, scratching, vomiting, swelling and infection if the food bolus that remains in the esophagus for a long time.
- Presence of ulcerations in the esophagus which causes the scratchy and painful sensation. This happens due to damage caused by the acidic contents on the esophageal mucosa as well as certain medications and bacteria. The scratchy sensation and pain can be felt when food passes through the esophagus, and if left untreated, these ulcers can bleed and lead to tissue damage.
- An enlargement of the veins found in the lower end of the esophagus which are known as esophageal varices.
- Cancer of the esophagus
- Excessive exposure to radiation can cause damage to the tissue
- Autoimmune disorders such as systemic scleroderma
- Hypersensitivity of the esophagus
- Chemical or physical trauma inflicted on the wall of the esophagus
- Consumption of alcohol, long term smoking, nicotine, caffeine and eating too much spicy foods.
Symptoms of scratched esophagus
- There is difficulty and pain when swallowing
- There is irritation and discomfort when the individual swallows food
- Oftentimes, the individual spits out blood
- Chest pain
- Reflux of acid
Treatment and home remedies of scratched esophagus
- Provide the individual with medications such as antihistamines and proton pump inhibitors in order to minimize the release of acid in the stomach.
- Avoid consuming of hot foods and beverages since it causes an increase in the pain and discomfort.
- Quit smoking and stop using tobacco products completely.
- Avoid eating spicy foods
- Maintain and manage the reflux effectively such as having small frequent meals every day, avoid lying down after a meal and perform some exercises at least three times in a week.
- Some foods can trigger the release of acid in the stomach. It is recommended to keep a record of foods that should be avoided.
- Stress, consumption of alcohol and tobacco are factors that cause trigger esophageal problems. The individual should stop smoking as well as avoid alcohol and being stressed out.
- Esophageal dilation is usually performed when there is irregular constriction of the esophagus. In some cases, surgical removal of damaged or cancerous parts of the esophagus is required.
If the condition of the individual seems to worsen, it is best to consult a doctor so that proper treatment can be started.