Over time, chronic inflammation in your esophagus can lead to complications, including:
Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture): Damage to cells in the lower esophagus from acid exposure leads to formation of scar tissue. The scar tissue narrows the food pathway, causing difficulty swallowing.
An open sore in the esophagus (esophageal ulcer): Stomach acid can severely erode tissues in the esophagus, causing an open sore to form. The esophageal ulcer may bleed, cause pain and make swallowing difficult.
Precancerous changes to the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus): In Barrett's esophagus, the tissue lining the lower esophagus changes. These changes are associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. The risk of cancer is low, but your doctor will likely recommend regular endoscopy exams to look for early warning signs of esophageal cancer.