Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 

Herpes esophagitis

Contents of this page:


Herpetic esophagitis
Herpetic esophagitis
Upper gastrointestinal system
Upper gastrointestinal system

Definition    Return to top

Herpes esophagitis is a viral infection that involves inflammation and ulcers in the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

Causes    Return to top

The herpes simplex virus causes herpes esophagitis.

Infection of the esophagus by the herpes simplex virus is rare in people with normal immune systems and usually runs its course without treatment. However, severe and persistent esophagitis can occur in people with a suppressed or weakened immune system.

Symptoms    Return to top

Symptoms include:

Healthy people recover on their own in 3 - 5 days, but those with a weakened immune system take longer to get better.

Exams and Tests    Return to top

Treatment    Return to top

The objective of treatment is to control the infection with antiviral medications. Some people also get pain medicine.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Esophagitis can usually be treated effectively. The outcome depends upon the immune system problem that makes the person more likely to develop the infection.

Possible Complications    Return to top

Complications include recurrent infections.

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if you have any condition that can cause reduced immune response and you develop symptoms of herpes esophagitis.

Prevention    Return to top

The herpes simplex virus is contagious by direct contact, so avoid contact with known herpes lesions.

Update Date: 11/1/2007

Updated by: Kenneth M. Wener, M.D., Department of Infectious Diseases, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.