Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
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.
Healthy people recover on their own in 3 - 5 days, but those with a weakened immune system take longer to get better.
The objective of treatment is to control the infection with antiviral medications. Some people also get pain medicine.
Esophagitis can usually be treated effectively. The outcome depends upon the immune system problem that makes the person more likely to develop the infection.
Complications include recurrent infections.
Calling your health care provider:
Call your health care provider if you have any condition that can cause reduced immune response and you develop symptoms of herpes esophagitis.
The herpes simplex virus is contagious by direct contact, so avoid contact with known herpes lesions.