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What is an Esophagitis Diet?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
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Esophagitis is a disorder that causes painful inflammation and constriction in the esophagus. It is most commonly caused by acid reflux disease, though severe food allergies, throat injuries, or infections can also be responsible for symptoms. After a doctor determines the underlying cause of the problem, he or she may suggest a special esophagitis diet that can help to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms and prevent future complications. An esophagitis diet usually consists of soft foods that do not contain spices and acids. If food allergies are responsible for symptoms, the doctor might try an elimination diet to identify aggravating foods that should be avoided.

People who have severe heartburn that occurs frequently and causes lasting throat pain may be experiencing reflux esophagitis. In addition to taking medications, a patient may be instructed to make major changes to their dietary habits. A common reflux esophagitis diet entails avoiding foods and drinks that seem to make heartburn the worst, such as spicy dishes, alcohol, and citrus fruits. Certain ingredients are more aggravating for some people than others, so establishing an effective diet plan may take several weeks of trial-and-error.

Allergy tests can reveal a person's most prominent food allergies and help doctors and dietitians assemble a proper esophagitis diet. In order to prevent allergic reactions, a person needs to thoroughly check ingredient lists on manufactured food products and ask about ingredients when dining in restaurants. Once symptoms of esophagitis improve, a doctor may suggest that certain foods be slowly introduced back into the diet to see if they can be tolerated. Some people with chronic esophagitis need to maintain highly restrictive diets that require them to eat meals specially prepared by licensed nutritionists.

In addition to following a doctor's orders about an esophagitis diet, a person can further reduce pain and irritation by eating smaller portions and choosing soft foods. Puddings, mashed potatoes, milkshakes, and similar items are much easier to swallow than pieces of meat, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Soft foods are especially important during severe episodes of esophagitis to avoid causing additional, unnecessary damage to the throat.

Doctors and dietitians can explain which soft foods are the best for maintaining a nutritious diet. A physician may suggest taking liquid supplements to ensure that the patient receives enough important vitamins, nutrients, and proteins as well. Not all cases of esophagitis can be cured, but most people are able to effectively manage their symptoms for long periods of time by sticking to their recommended diet plans.

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