Common signs and symptoms of esophagitis include:

  • Difficult swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Painful swallowing (odynophagia)
  • Chest pain, particularly behind the breastbone, that occurs with eating
  • Swallowed food becoming stuck in the esophagus (food impaction)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cough
  • Decreased appetite

In young children, particularly those too young to explain their discomfort or pain, signs of esophagitis may include:

  • Feeding difficulties
  • Failure to thrive

When to see a doctor

Most signs and symptoms of esophagitis can be caused by a number of different conditions affecting the digestive system. See your doctor if signs or symptoms:

  • Last more than a few days
  • Don't improve or go away with over-the-counter antacids
  • Are severe enough to make eating difficult
  • Are accompanied by flu symptoms, such as headache, fever and muscle aches
  • Are accompanied by shortness of breath or chest pain not triggered immediately with eating

Get emergency care if you:

  • Experience pain in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Suspect you have food lodged in your esophagus
  • Have a history of heart disease and experience chest pain
Sep. 15, 2011

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.