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Corrosive Esophagitis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.


Corrosive esophagitis

is damage to your esophagus from harmful substances. The damage may cause inflammation, ulcers, or scarring.

Digestive Tract

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Chest pain that is sudden or happens after you take a pill
  • Pain when you swallow liquids or food
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting blood

Seek care immediately if:

  • You feel like food or medicine is stuck in your esophagus and it does not go down when you drink water.
  • Your vomit has blood in it or looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have black or bloody bowel movements.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse.

Call your doctor or gastroenterologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain that does not decrease or go away after you take your pain medicine.
  • You vomit and cannot keep food or liquids down.
  • Your stomach feels very full, and you cannot burp or vomit.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


Your healthcare provider may have you stop certain medicine or treatments for a period of time. This will give your esophagus time to heal. Do not stop any treatments without talking to your provider first. You may also need the following:

  • Medicines may be given to decrease inflammation or irritation from stomach acids. They may help increase the protective lining of the esophagus to help it heal. You may also need antibiotics to treat or prevent a bacterial infection in your esophagus.
  • Dilatation is a procedure used to widen the esophagus. A small balloon, dilator, or stent is placed in your esophagus and expanded.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove an area of your esophagus. It may be replaced with a portion of your stomach or colon.

Prevent corrosive esophagitis:

  • Sit or stand when you take your medicine. Do not lie down after you take your pills. Stay in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes after you take your pills.
  • Store harmful chemicals in a safe location. Label bottles with harmful substances.
  • Ask for other ways to take your medicine. If you have a narrow esophagus, ask if you can take your medicine in liquid form. Ask if you can crush the pill and mix it with liquid to drink. If you must swallow pills, take them 1 at a time. Take each one with at least 4 ounces of liquid.

Follow up with your doctor or gastroenterologist as directed:

You may need to have another endoscopy to make sure your esophagus is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.