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What Causes Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)?
Eosinophils are a kind of white blood cell that have a vital role in the immune system, mostly in the blood and intestinal tract. If they appear in large numbers in other parts of the body, they cause problems. In the nose, they are related to seasonal allergies. In asthma, they are in a patient’s lungs.
In eosinophilic esophagitis, these specialized white blood cells build up in the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach) as a reaction to certain foods, allergens, or the backup of stomach acid. The resulting inflammation can lead to scarring and constriction of the esophagus, causing problems with swallowing.
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a long-standing allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus, the tube that delivers food from the mouth to the stomach. Now called EoE, in the past it was referred to as EE.
Children who have EoE frequently have other allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), seasonal allergies, and asthma.
In children, signs and symptoms include:
There are three steps to arriving at a diagnosis of EoE. The physician will consider your child’s symptoms. A procedure called an endoscopy will be done to allow the doctor to see the condition of the esophagus. During the endoscopy, a sample of tissue will be taken (a biopsy) for evaluation by a pathologist, a doctor who specializes in determining the cause of diseases by examining these samples.
The number of people diagnosed with EoE has risen steeply in the last 10 years. Research indicates that this increase parallels the rise in asthma and allergy cases.
Because it is a chronic disease, most patients who have eosinophilic esophagitis will need continuing treatment. Your child’s diet may be restricted in order to identify a food trigger.
Common problem foods are:
Allergy tests may be used to identify a trigger food or elimination diets may be advised based on the most common food trigger.
Medications are used to manage EoE: