DAVID M. MARTIN, MD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID M. MARTIN, MD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oesophagitis. Endoscope view of an inflamed and ulcerated (white areas) oesophagus due to acid reflux. This occurs when the muscles of the lower oesophagus are weakened, allowing reflux (regurgitation) of the acidic stomach juices up the oesophagus. It causes heartburn which gets worse when bending over. A change in diet and lifestyle is the best way to prevent oesophagitis, with weight loss, fewer large meals and cessation of smoking and heavy drinking being priorities. Antacid drugs, which reduce the acidity of the stomach fluids, can also provide short term relief. Severe and long-lasting oesophagitis may have to be treated surgically.
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