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All About Eosinophilic Esophagitis – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Disorders of the digestive system such as severe stomach pain, vomiting or poor digestion can be very troublesome. The disorder may crop-up at any point of the digestive system. One such complicated health condition that impairs the normal ingestion process is Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

Here is an overview of the description of the disease, causes, symptoms and treatment of the disease.

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Source: Wikimedia

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

A medical condition causing inflammation and pain of the esophagus is considered as eosinophilic esophagitis. Esophagus being the major part connecting the mouth and stomach effected person finds hard to swallow due to inflammation.

Who are at risk of the disease?

Adults in the age group of twenties and thirties are at high risk of developing this rare condition. However, it may also be found in children.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation of the tissues of the esophagus due to abnormal accumulation of eosinophils in the esophagus. In healthy people eosinophils are observed in esophagus at regions that do not form part of gastrointestinal tract.
  • Difficulty while swallowing.
  • Pain the chest.
  • Diarrhea due to indigestion.
  • Increased risk of choking due to blocking caused by inflamed tissues.
  • Increased loss of weight.
  • Reduced growth due to indigestion and diarrhea which reduces the nutrient supply to the body.
  • Presence of unpleasant acidic taste, heart burn and vomiting that does not respond to even medicines.
  • Development of ridges or deep furrows in the esophagus due to increased inflammation of the tissues.
  • Presence of plaques of white blood cells in layers lining the esophagus.
  • More numbers of white blood cells are found dispersed in the midst of esophageal cells.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Causes

Multiple conditions that increase the white blood cell count in the body can cause this disease. Here are few causes for eosinophilic esophagus.


  • Asthma and Allergies

    People with history of chronic allergies and asthma are at increased risk of the disease. Allergens are not just limited to those found in food materials even those found in air can also stimulate the disease.


  • Gender Specificity

    It is more commonly observed in men than in women.


  • Autoimmune Disorders

    Disorders of the immune system that disturb the white blood cell count also increase the risk of eosinophilic esophagitis.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Diagnosis

In majority of the cases the disease is confused with symptoms of simple reflux. To confirm the disease an in-depth analysis should be done.

Tests used in diagnosis include

Upper Endoscopy

Endoscope, a narrow tube is inserted through the mouth down to the esophagus to check for the presence of inflammation of the esophageal tissues. Presence of white spots, narrowing of the esophagus, vertical furrows and horizontal rings indicates the disease.

Biopsy

If the doctor suspects of this disease after endoscopic examination then he will direct for an endoscopy to confirm the disease. In biopsy a small tissue is taken from the lining of the esophagus and examined. Presence of more number of eosinophils in the tissue sample indicates the presence of disease.

Differential Diagnosis

Before starting the treatment the doctor has to rule out other similar conditions such as GERD and non-allergenic acid reflux.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Treatment

Treatment mainly aims at regulating the abnormal functioning of the immune system, controlling stomach acid production and suppressing inflammation.

  • If allergens are found stimulating the immune system then the concerned food allergen is eliminated from the diet. If the allergen is a pollutant from the inhaled air then patient is recommended to take appropriate care to prevent contact with allergens.
  • Reflux medications are given to prevent reflux.
  • To prevent choking due to blockage of esophagus medicines such as oral steroids like prednisone are given to reduce the inflammation.

Lastly, if you are experiencing regular morning stomach pain or sore stomach during pregnancy due to frequent reflux consult your physician immediately to find out if you are at risk of Eosinophilic esophagitis.

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