Herpes esophagitis (HSE) is a viral infection caused by HSV type 2. It causes cold sores on the mouth, lips, tongue and inside cheeks. HSE can be very painful and it may lead to severe complications such as pneumonia, sepsis and even death. However, there are several treatments available to treat HSE including antiviral drugs which have been proven effective in treating the condition.
The symptoms of HSE vary from person to person. Some people experience no symptoms at all while others develop milder symptoms after exposure to certain bacteria or viruses. People with HSE usually do not show any signs of illness until they get sick and then they often suffer from fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and other flu like symptoms.
Other common symptoms include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, back and armpits along with pain when swallowing or breathing.
People with HSE are generally unable to give accurate medical diagnoses due to their inability to tell whether they have a bacterial or viral infection. A doctor will only diagnose them if they test positive for one of these infections. There is currently no cure for HSE but there are medications that can relieve some of the symptoms.
These medications include antibiotics, steroids and anti-viral drugs.
HSV 1 is more common in cold sores which appear on or around the mouth. It is usually spread through close contact with an infected person through kissing or sharing eating utensils etc. HSE is a rare condition and only occurs in people who already suffer from cold sores.
There are several over the counter treatments available to help manage pain and other symptoms of HSE but it can only be cured by prescription drugs.
HSE can be treated with antiviral drugs or other medications. It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and have a history of cold sores or similar infections. If you have recently had contact with someone who has HSE then you should see your doctor to allow them to test you for the condition.
There is no cure for HSE but it can be managed through treatment.
Herpes esophagitis (HSE) causes an inflammation and blisters on the lining of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. It is a rare but serious complication caused by the herpes simplex viruses (HSV). This condition can occur in people who have cold sores (HSV-1) around their mouth.
However, it is most often caused by HSV-2, the virus that usually causes genital herpes.
Most people with HSE have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). This can progress to vomiting blood due to the injury to the esophagus. HSE can be fatal if it is not treated quickly.
It is important to see a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
There is no cure for HSE. Treatment options include:
1. Acyclovir (Zovirax), which can help speed healing and reduce the severity of the disease in some people.
2. A treatment with steroids that is sometimes combined with a chemotherapy drug called 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) to prevent damage to the esophagus.
3. If the above treatments are not effective, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the damaged tissue in your esophagus.
It is important to note that HSE can recur (come back). You may need to take antiviral medicines on a regular basis for the rest of your life. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above and have a history of cold sores or genital herpes, be sure to see your doctor right away.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Herpes esophagitis: clinical syndrome, endoscopic appearance, and diagnosis in 23 patients by RD McBane, JB Gross – Gastrointestinal endoscopy, 1991 – giejournal.org
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Herpes esophagitis in otherwise healthy patients: clinical and radiographic findings. by MJ Shortsleeve, MS Levine – Radiology, 1992 – pubs.rsna.org
Herpes esophagitis in healthy adults and adolescents: report of 3 cases and review of the literature by E Canalejo, FG Durán, N Cabello, JG Martínez – Medicine, 2010 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Prominent mononuclear cell infiltrate is characteristic of herpes esophagitis by JK Greenson, WE Beschorner, JK Boitnott, JH Yardley – Human pathology, 1991 – Elsevier
Black esophagus associated with herpes esophagitis by P Cattan, E Cuillerier, C Cellier, F Carnot… – Gastrointestinal …, 1999 – giejournal.org