Eosinophilic Esophagitis

A diagnosis of this chronic inflammatory disorder indicates that large numbers of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, have built up in the esophagus. This build-up irritates the esophagus, which can result in trouble swallowing and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Symptoms

For many years, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) was misdiagnosed as acid reflux (GERD). EoE symptoms can be very similar, yet the condition is entirely unrelated to reflux. Symptoms include:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Food lodged in the esophagus
  • Abdominal pain
  • Persistent heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • No improvement in symptoms with GERD medicine

Infants and children with EoE can have similar symptoms to the above. Parents may also notice vomiting, difficulty eating, and poor growth.

Causes

An allergic reaction to food or other allergens typically causes the abundance of eosinophils (that under normal circumstances are not present in the esophagus at all). Researchers believe a genetic component plays a part in a patient’s likelihood of developing EoE.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

The most common method of EoE diagnosis involves an endoscopy performed by a gastroenterologist. A long tube with a tiny camera on the end is inserted into the esophagus, and a thorough visual examination and biopsy provide vital information on esophageal health. Upon EoE diagnosis, an allergist will perform allergy testing that may include blood and skin tests. These should help zero in on what allergen(s) cause your allergic esophagitis.

Determining food allergy sources and then making dietary modifications can significantly reduce symptoms of EoE within weeks. Some prescription medications can also prove helpful when at suppressing eosinophil build-up. We believe every EoE patient should have an individualized treatment plan and will work with you to get the condition under control.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Facts

Greater Austin Allergy Asthma & Immunology