Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a newly identified immune disorder of your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. It has been recognized since about the year 2000 in both children and adults and occurs in about one in 2,000 people.
EoE causes swallowing difficulties due to inflammation of the esophagus. It can be triggered by heartburn (acid reflux or GERD), food allergies or seasonal allergies (hay fever). These triggers cause excessive white blood cells called eosinophils to accumulate in your esophagus, causing inflammation. People with eczema and asthma also have a higher chance of developing EoE.
Symptoms of Eosinophilic Esophagitis:
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Food regurgitation or getting stuck in your esophagus
- Irritability, difficulty feeding, and poor weight gain among infants and toddlers
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal or chest pain
- Sleep difficulty, especially with lying flat
Causes of Eosinophilic Esophagitis:
Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of your EoE. About half of people with EoE also have asthma or seasonal allergies (hay fever) and notice their EoE symptoms are worse during the spring and summer months. Folks with food allergies or eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, are also more likely to get EoE.
The six most common foods and food groups associated with allergic reactions that lead to EoE include eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts or other nuts, and fish or shellfish. We may also determine that you have a combination of food and seasonal allergies triggering your EoE, which is quite common. A small sample or biopsy of your esophageal tissue can help establish your EoE diagnosis.
Treatment Options for Eosinophilic Esophagitis:
- Dietary management – our allergists can help you eliminate foods that cause your EoE
- Medication and lifestyle management – we can treat your heartburn (acid reflux) with medications and offer lifestyle modifications that can help control your heartburn
- Advanced medications – corticosteroids that help to reduce the inflammation in your esophagus can be used in various forms
Our specialists will work closely with you to help identify your triggers and offer dietary management strategies. Simply avoiding substances that trigger your eosinophilic esophagitis can help reduce your symptoms and need for further medications. Our allergy testing helps identify your triggering substances including food allergies.