Esophagitis is a general term for swelling, irritation, or inflammation of the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the back of the mouth to the stomach. Those with esophagitis may experience heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or even chest pain. If not treated, ulcers or scarring may develop in the esophagus, potentially causing permanent damage. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which forces acid from the stomach to flow back up into the esophagus, is the most common cause of esophagitis. Other causes include hiatal hernias, vomiting, allergies, viruses, and an infection in the lining of the esophagus. Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, as well as certain antibiotics and vitamin and mineral supplements, also can cause esophagitis.


UAB Medicine is known worldwide as a leading center for digestive and liver disorders. Our gastroenterology and gastrointestinal (GI) surgery program is consistently recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report. We see more than 20,000 patients and perform more than 12,000 outpatient procedures each year.

UAB has a notable history in this medical specialty. Basil Hirschowitz, MD – who founded our program more than 50 years ago – was the inventor of the endoscope, a tubular, flexible instrument equipped with a tiny camera that is used to look deep inside the body. His invention revolutionized gastroenterology and GI surgery care. Our interventional endoscopy group, which includes endoscopic ultrasound technology, is one of the busiest in the country and has grown to become one of the most respected programs of its kind.

UAB continues to lead the advancement of gastroenterology with many active research trials that offer the latest in drug therapy and treatment for digestive disorders. Our physicians and scientists are searching for causes and cures for many illnesses through basic research, including studies of the bacteria that inhabit our intestines and affect our health.

UAB Medicine operates the Digestive Health Center, which combines gastroenterology care, GI surgery, and a broad range of advanced diagnostic and supportive services in a single, convenient location for our patients. The center features specialists in gastroenterology and hepatology, colorectal surgery, transplant surgery, and nutrition, all of whom work together to form a diverse team of digestive health experts. The Digestive Health Center provides a fully integrated model of care that optimizes the patient experience and offers the absolute latest in testing, technology, and treatment.





UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials