Erosive esophagitis (EE) is a condition characterized by breaks (irritation and damage) in the inner lining of the esophagus (tube that runs from the throat to the stomach) caused by a recurring reflux of acidic stomach contents over time. It is estimated that 65 million people in the US have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and that 20% of GERD sufferers have EE. Symptoms of EE and GERD may include heartburn (a rising, burning sensation behind the breastbone) and regurgitation (sensation of backward flow of liquid content up into the chest or throat). Complications (which are not very common) include narrowing (strictures) of the esophagus that can lead to difficulty swallowing or food getting stuck (in the chest). EE is also a risk factor for developing Barrett’s esophagus, an adaptation to chronic reflux resulting in formation of a new (different) type of inner lining of the esophagus that is associated with an increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, a serious and potentially fatal cancer of the esophagus.
Gastroparesis is a chronic, severe and debilitating disorder that may be associated with dysfunction in the enteric nervous system, causing the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine to slow or stop, and preventing or disrupting normal digestion. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, early satiety, fullness after eating and abdominal pain. These symptoms are chronic and often constant, significantly impacting the patient’s quality of life. Severe cases result in the inability to digest foods and liquids and lead to malnutrition, weight loss and dehydration, periodically requiring hospitalization.