What is Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE)?
EOE is an allergic condition that affects the esophagus, or the “food tube” that connects the mouth to the stomach. Individuals with EOE have a buildup of eosinophils –which is a type of white blood cells—in the esophagus resulting in inflammation. An inflamed esophagus can lead to trouble swallowing, heartburn, and reflux.
Causes and Risk Factors
Medical experts aren’t certain as to what may be causing this condition, nevertheless they believe it to be related to an allergic reaction to environmental or food triggers. For some individuals, it can be a genetic condition.
Risk factors include:
- Gender: Men are affected 3 times more than women.
- Allergies/Asthma: If you have food or environmental allergies, asthma, eczema, or a chronic respiratory disease, then you’re at a higher risk of developing EOE.
- Family History: According to medical research, the condition is linked to specific genes. If you have a family history of EOE, then you are at higher risk of being diagnosed with it.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Diagnosis usually begins with your Orlando Gastroenterologist asking you about your symptoms, personal and family history. A physical exam may also be conducted to evaluate your symptoms.
Another way to diagnose this condition is by your Orlando Gastroenterologist performing an upper endoscopy (EGD) to examine the lining of the inflammation of your esophagus. During the EGD, your doctor will take a biopsy of the esophageal lining to inspect it under a microscope.
Unfortunately, EOE is a chronic disease that has no cure. However, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms by reducing the eosinophil levels in the tissue and prevent any more damage to the esophagus.
- Elimination diet: Stop eating and drinking foods like milk, soy, eggs, wheat, nuts and seafood. Afterwards incorporate them back into your diet one by one to identify the foods that are causing the allergic reaction.
- Acid-blocking medications: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a medication that can help rule out GERD and can even help reduce inflammation and reflux symptoms.
- Topical corticosteroids: This type of medicine controls inflammation. It can either be ingested
- Esophageal dilation: A minimally invasive procedure that stretches esophageal strictures. This makes it easier to swallow as well as relieve other symptoms.
Schedule an Appointment with One of Our Orlando Gastroenterologists
If you find yourself having symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis, contact the Digestive and Liver Center of Florida right away and schedule an appointment with one of our physicians. You can reach them at (407)384-7388.