This is an allergic reaction that can occur in the esophagus. Symptoms happen when your immune system produces too many white blood cells in reaction to an allergy-causing substance. The white blood cells involved are called eosinophils.
The condition is called eosinophilic esophagitis, or EE
. It affects between one and four of every 10,000 people in the U.S
- difficulty swallowing
- acid reflux that does not respond well to medication
- trouble eating and swallowing food
- chest pain
- food getting stuck in the throat
- having to drink a lot of flush to finish a meal
- feeling too full to continue eating halfway through a meal
- stunted growth or poor weight gain in children
Who's at risk
The disease affects both children and adults, but is more common in men. People with asthma and food or environmental allergies have a much greater chance of developing it.
Your doctor will take your medical history and will likely want to test you for allergies. He or she will probably do an endoscopy. The doctor will check for physical signs of inflammation and an increased number of eosinophils. To confirm the diagnosis, your health provider will likely need to take a biopsy, or tissue sample, from your esophagus.
you will need to work closely with an allergist and a gastroenterologist, a specialist in digestive disorders. They'll help you figure out what substances or foods to avoid. No specific medications can cure EoE, although certain steroids may help to reduce the swelling in your esophagus.
When to call a doctor
- weight loss
- chest pain