What is Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic condition in which the immune system causes inflammation to the esophagus – the tube which carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

Cells known as eosinophils build up in the lining of the esophagus, causing inflammation and preventing the esophagus from functioning accurately. Eosinophils are allergy cells that normally are not seen in the esophagus.

What Causes Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

The exact cause of EoE is unknown, but it is thought to be related to food allergies, in particular food allergies.

What are the Symptoms of Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

Symptoms can vary with age, but the most common between adults and children is difficulty swallowing.

Other symptoms in adults include:

  • Feeling that food is getting stuck in the throat or chest
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain 
  • Heartburn

In children, symptoms include:

  • Refusing to eat solid foods
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Patients with EoE may also have other allergic disorders such as asthma, hay fever, or eczema.

What is the Treatment for Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

Eosinophilic esophagitis treatment involves diet changes and medications that help control symptoms.

Consulting with an experienced dietitian can help you learn how to eat, shop, and prepare meals. As an initial approach, your dietitian may recommend that you avoid foods that commonly cause allergies, such as milk, egg, soy, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat. You might be referred to an allergist for further testing to determine food allergies.

Other treatments include medications. One common treatment for EoE is a medication used to treat acid reflux, known as Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI). PPI blocks acid, which can trigger symptoms or contribute to the inflammation. Steroids will also help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms.

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