06/27/2012 12:17 pm ET

Esophagitis And Clay Buchholz: What Is The Condition That Hospitalized The Red Sox Pitcher?

Clay Buchholz, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was hospitalized Tuesday after he suffered internal bleeding from esophagitis, according to news reports.

"Clay Buchholz has esophagitis, which led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed,'" according to a team statement reported by ESPN. "He has been evaluated and observed at Mass. General Hospital. Clay is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery."

Gatrointestinal bleeding is often first seen as blood in vomit or in stools, according to the Mayo Clinic. Depending on the severity of the internal bleeding -- which can range from mild to life-threatening -- doctors may choose one of a variety of different options to stop blood vessels from bleeding, including the use of rubber bands, a type of glue and injections, or burning the blood vessels or employing freezing methods, the Mayo Clinic reported.

In Buchholz's case, the cause of the bleeding was esophagitis.

Esophagitis occurs when the esophagus is inflamed, irritated or swollen, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. It typically occurs as a result of stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus, which is also known as gastroesophageal reflux.

Risk factors for the condition include having had surgery or radiation in the chest area, smoking, drinking alcohol, vomiting, or taking medications without drinking a lot of water, according to A.D.A.M. Certain infections can also lead to the condition.

Symptoms include having problems swallowing, having pain in the chest region, vomiting or feeling nauseous, coughing, not having an appetite, and experiencing abdominal pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because all these symptoms can be a sign of some other kind of digestive system issue, the Mayo Clinic recommends going to see a doctor of they don't go away in a few days, are experienced in conjunction with flu symptoms, or are bad enough to make it difficult to eat.

To be diagnosed with the condition, a doctor may conduct an endoscopy -- where a tube is used to examine the esophagus -- a biopsy, or a specific kind of X-ray called a barium X-ray, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The condition is treated with medications, and lifestyle changes -- like not eating spicy, hard or acidic foods, and not drinking alcohol or smoking -- can also help.