Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic immune system disease. With this disease, a type of white blood cell, called an eosinophil, builds up in the lining of the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. This tube is also called the esophagus.
This buildup, which is a reaction to foods, allergens or acid reflux, can inflame or injure the esophageal tissue. Damaged esophageal tissue can lead to difficulty swallowing or cause food to get stuck when you swallow.
Eosinophilic esophagitis has been identified only since the early ’90s, but is now considered a major cause of digestive system illness. Research is ongoing and will likely lead to revisions in the diagnosis and treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis.
Allergists and gastroenterologists are seeing many more patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. This is due to an increased incidence of Eosinophilic Esophagitis and greater physician awareness. Eosinophilic Esophagitis is considered to be a chronic condition that can be medically managed, but is not outgrown.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Allergies
The majority of patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis are atopic. An atopic person is someone who has symptoms of one or more allergic disorders. These include asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and food allergy.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis has occasionally been shown to occur in other family members. Because many patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis are atopic, they may be seen first by an allergist who suspects the diagnosis and refers them to a gastroenterologist for confirmation of Eosinophilic Esophagitis.
Alternatively, if the diagnosis of Eosinophilic Esophagitis is made by a Triborough GI gastroenterologist, you may be referred to an allergist for allergy testing. It will provide you, your family and the gastroenterologist with information so that any allergic aspects of Eosinophilic Esophagitis can be properly treated. It may also help plan diet therapy and eventual reintroduction of foods to your diet.
When you first find out you have Eosinophilic Esophagitis, it can be overwhelming. Families often benefit from participating in support groups and organizations.