The oesophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Its primary function is transporting swallowed food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach for digestion through coordinated muscle contractions, known as peristalsis.
The oesophagal disorder is a medical term given to the health condition disturbing the functioning of the oesophagus. Suppose the process of transporting swallowed food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach is disturbed due to different medical issues. In that case, it may result in various types of problems related to digestion. Other symptoms of the disorder are heartburn, acid reflux, thickening of the lower lining of the oesophagus, and many similar issues.
Causes and Risk Factors of Oesophagal Disorders
- Reflux Esophagitis– It is one of the primary causes of the disorder. It is a medical situation when chronic acid reflux happens. The lower oesophagal sphincter is the healthy barrier between the food and the oesophagus. This sphincter often doesn’t close properly, leading to the acid from the stomach flowing back to the oesophagus, making the affected individual feel a burning sensation in the chest. People suffering from GERD are also prone to being affected by reflux esophagitis. The stomach’s contents also reverse in the oesophagus when the stomach slides into the oesophagus.
- Oesophageal Dysphagia– It is an issue indicated by difficulty swallowing solids or liquids. It can happen due to improper digestion, causing bloating, acid reflux, and heartburn. It is also one of the causes of the disorder. Autoimmune neurological diseases are usually associated with the cause of the issue in the oesophagus. Therefore, autoimmune disorders are also termed as possible oesophageal disorder causes.
- Smoking- Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for oesophageal disorders. Smoking can weaken the LES(Lower Oesophageal Sphincter), making it more likely for stomach acid to reflux into the oesophagus, leading to chronic irritation and damage.
- Obesity- Excess body weight, especially in the abdominal area, can increase intra-abdominal pressure. This added pressure can force stomach contents up into the oesophagus, promoting reflux and GERD.
- Diet- Consuming high-fat, spicy, or acidic foods can exacerbate GERD symptoms by increasing stomach acid production and relaxing the LES. These dietary choices can lead to chronic irritation and inflammation of the oesophagus.
- Alcohol- Excessive alcohol consumption can relax the LES, making it easier for stomach acid to flow into the oesophagus. This can contribute to GERD and oesophageal irritation.
- Hiatal Hernia– A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This condition can weaken the LES’s ability to prevent acid reflux, increasing the risk of GERD.
- Age- Older adults may be more susceptible to oesophageal disorders due to natural ageing processes that affect muscle tone and function. The LES may become less effective in preventing acid reflux.
- Genetics- Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to oesophageal disorders, although the specific genetic factors are unclear.
- Certain Medications- Prolonged use of certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), calcium channel blockers, and bisphosphonates, can increase the risk of oesophageal irritation and inflammation.
- Chemical Exposures- Occupational or environmental exposure to certain chemicals and toxins may contribute to developing oesophageal disorders, including an increased risk of oesophageal cancer.
- History of Radiation Therapy- Individuals who have previously undergone radiation therapy in the chest or upper abdomen, often for treating other medical conditions, may be at a higher risk of developing oesophageal disorders.
- Precancerous Conditions- Conditions such as Barrett’s oesophagus, which results from prolonged GERD, are considered precancerous. People with Barrett’s oesophagus have an increased risk of developing oesophageal adenocarcinoma (cancer).
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gastroenterology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
The researchers do not explicitly define oesophageal disorder causes. However, health conditions leading to the disorder’s symptoms are the disorder’s risk factors. If treated at the right time, these symptoms can be lowered to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Q. What are some of the causes of oesophageal disorders?
A. Thickening of the oesophageal lining, an increase in the number of white blood cells, autoimmune disorders, and a few allergic reactions are some of the oesophageal disorder causes.
Q. What are the different types of oesophageal disorders?
A. GERD, Barrett’s Disease, and oesophageal cancer are common types of oesophageal disorders.
Q. What are the major risks of oesophageal disorders?
A. Some of the major risk factors or causes of oesophageal cancer are-
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD),
- Hiatal Hernia
- Certain Medications
- Chemical Exposures,
- Radiation Therapy History
- Precancerous Conditions.
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