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Esophagus Disorders

 

 
 

The esophagus is the tube that carries food, liquids and saliva from your mouth to the stomach. You may not be aware of your esophagus until you swallow something too large, too hot or too cold. You may also become aware of it when something is wrong.

The most common problem with the esophagus is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It happens when a band of muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Over time, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus. Other problems include heartburn and cancer.

Treatment depends on the problem. Some get better with over-the-counter medicines or changes in diet. Others may need prescription medicines or surgery.

 

 

 
 
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Illustration of the nasal cavity, epiglottis, esophagus and stomach

National Institutes of Health

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  • MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.

 

 

 

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.