Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic allergic disorder that causes inflammation of the esophagus and trouble swallowing as a result of white blood cell buildup within the esophagus. While this condition is not something that someone can outgrow or cure, an allergist can easily help you manage your condition through medication.
Symptoms will vary, depending on age. For example, infants may refuse to eat while older children may complain of stomach pains or difficulty swallowing. Common symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Food getting stuck in the esophagus
- Acid reflux that is unresponsive to medication
- Abdominal or chest pain
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble sleeping due reflux or abdominal pain
First and foremost, your immunologist and asthma specialist will want to determine the cause of your symptoms, whether through environmental allergies (e.g. pollen, animal dander, dust mites) or food allergies (e.g. dairy).
In order to diagnose EoE your allergist will need to perform specific allergy testing and diagnostic procedures. The most common diagnostic test is an upper endoscopy, which allows our doctors to check the lining of the esophagus to look for inflammation. A biopsy of the esophageal tissue will also be taken during the endoscopy. A biopsy is often taken during an endoscopy because while inflammation may not be detected during an endoscopy, the biopsy can provide us with the evidence we need to make a proper EoE diagnosis.
While symptoms of EoE may come and go, this is a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment, monitoring and care. That’s why it’s important that you have an immunologist that you can turn to. Treating EoE usually includes a combination of medication and dietary changes. Medications used to treat EoE include acid reflux medications (e.g. proton pump inhibitors) and topical steroids (to target and reduce inflammation of the esophagus).
Dietary changes will also be made if your doctor suspects certain food triggers. Common food triggers include peanuts, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, dairy, and wheat. Our doctors will work with you to create a diet plan that works for you and doesn’t trigger EoE symptoms.
Whether you have questions about eosinophilic esophagitis or are concerned that you or your child may be dealing with this condition, your asthma and allergy doctor can provide you with the answers you’re looking for.