Treating Eosinophilic Esophagitis Symptoms

Treating Eosinophilic Esophagitis Symptoms

Eosinophilic esophagitis, often called EE for short, is a food allergy that causes inflammation of the esophagus after eating certain foods. This chronic disease of the digestive system can be difficult to diagnose, manage, and treat. In this post, we share more information on this immune system disease and share some treatments for eosinophilic esophagitis. 

Understanding Eosinophilic Esophagitis

An estimated 1 in 1800 people are diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis in the United states alone. Those diagnosed with EE have a type of white blood cell (eosinophil) that builds up in the esophagus, which is the lining of the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. Caused by a reaction to allergens, acid reflux, or consuming certain foods, this buildup can injure or inflame the esophageal tissue. This can make it difficult to swallow, often resulting in food getting stuck. 

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of EE can vary between adults and children. Adults may experience the following:

  • Food getting stuck in the esophagus 
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Centrally located chest pain
  • Regurgitation of undigested food 

In infants and toddlers (0-5 years old), you may notice they have difficulty swallowing or refuse food altogether. Other signs include vomiting, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, failure to thrive. This can be identified by poor growth and weight. School aged children (6-12 years old) often complain of abdominal pain. Food impaction, which is when the food gets stuck in the esophagus, is also possible. Children with EE may also experience trouble swallowing, vomiting, and no response to GERD medication. They may also experience poor growth, weight loss, and malnutrition. If your child is taking a long time to eat or needs to chew more often, it could be a sign of eosinophilic esophagitis. 

Risk Factors

People are more likely to be diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis if they live in a cold or dry climate. Males are more likely to be diagnosed compared to females. Genetics may also play a role as EE tends to run in families.

Because eosinophilic esophagitis is associated with allergies, you’re more likely to be diagnosed between spring and fall as pollen levels and other allergens are higher. Although EE can be diagnosed at any age, it’s typically found in patients who have asthma, eczema, food or environmental allergies. Having eczema, asthma, and allergies is known as the atopic triad. 

Treatments for Eosinophilic Esophagitis

There is currently no cure of eosinophilic esophagitis. However, symptoms can be managed through medication and diet. For example, your physician can prescribe medication that can help coat the esophagus in order to ease inflammation.

An elimination diet can also help identify which foods may be triggering a reaction. The diet involves removing certain foods from your diet for around 60 days and then slowly reincorporating them back in. Usually common food culprits are eliminated such as milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, soy and seafood (fish and shellfish).

Carefully monitoring the results can help determine which foods are triggering the condition. Although EE is a chronic condition, some people may be able to reintroduce certain trigger foods back into their diet with time and treatment. P

lease speak to your doctor or nutritionist first to make sure you or your child are still getting all essential nutrients before starting an elimination diet. Experts on eosinophilic esophagitis compare the condition to asthma in the sense that patients are able to have some control over the disease. So long as they adhere to treatment and do their best to avoid triggers, it’s possible to live a full and normal life.

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