If you have difficulty swallowing food, persistent heartburn, or related issues, then you may be suffering from eosinophilic esophagitis (or "EoE" for short). This is a chronic allergic condition of the esophagus (the tube that delivers food from the mouth to the stomach) in which large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils accumulate and cause inflammation.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF EOSINOPHILIC ESOPHAGITIS
EoE can be triggered by the ingestion of certain foods or allergens, or can arise as a response to acid reflux disease. It is a reaction of the body's immune system that can be managed, but not outgrown.
The symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis differ according to age. In adults, symptoms often include:
- Trouble swallowing food (dysphagia)
- Centrally located chest pain
- Persistent heartburn
- Upper abdominal pain
- Food getting stuck in the esophagus after swallowing (known as "impaction")
- Backflow of undigested food (regurgitation)
Children who suffer from EoE may present somewhat different symptoms from adults. These may include:
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty feeding, in infants
- Failure to thrive, as evidenced by slow or poor growth, unintentional weight loss, and malnutrition
While there is no known cure for EoE, symptoms may be reduced in severity or frequency through certain medications. In addition, lifestyle changes may make a significant difference for sufferers. For example, many medical professionals recommend that EoE patients take the following steps:
- Maintain a healthy weight, or invest in a gradual weight-loss strategy in order to relieve pressure on the abdomen
- Avoid specific foods and drinks that may trigger heartburn and other symptoms of EoE
- At bedtime, elevate the position of the body from the waist up
Of course, in order for treatment to be effective a trained medical professional must first accurately diagnose you with eosinophilic esophagitis. At the Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco, our caring experts can do just that, and then provide different treatment plans for your consideration.