Eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE, is a rare and often chronic allergic inflammatory disease. Only one to four out of 10,000 Americans have this condition. Because there is less information about it, eosinophilic esophagitis treatment is complicated, but unlike before, now, there are better ways to control the symptoms.
Here are some vital facts about EoE:
Symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis vary across age groups. However, the most common indication is the high presence of eosinophil. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell that helps fight diseases. In most cases, a high concentration of eosinophils in the esophageal area could mean that the person is experiencing an allergic reaction.
Due to these allergic reactions, a person with EoE may experience difficulty in swallowing food. The feeling of having food stuck in their esophagus is the most commonly reported sensation. Because of this, a person suffering from EoE tend to regurgitate their food and vomit it. Acid reflux and stomach pains are also some of the symptoms associated with this condition.
Upper endoscopy and biopsy are the two main tests used to determine if you have EoE. When having an endoscopy, your doctor will insert a narrow tube with a camera through your esophagus to see if there are anomalies in the area. These anomalies may come in the form of inflammation, swelling, white spots, vertical furrows, or horizontal rings.
A biopsy is also done to examine your esophagus for eosinophils. During the biopsy, your doctor will get small pieces of tissue samples on your throat to look for irregularities. If doctors have not ruled out EoE after these tests, you will be asked to have additional blood tests to determine if allergens are the ones causing your attacks. If your eosinophil counts are higher than average when exposed to allergens, then your final diagnosis is most likely EoE.
Management and treatment
Food management is the best-known eosinophilic esophagitis treatment at the moment. After determining the food allergens that stimulate your EoE, you will be advised to go through food counseling to help you come up with a diet plan. Allergic reactions often get started with dairy products, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and some varieties of seafood, so it is better if you avoid them altogether. In some cases, your doctors will also tell you to avoid environments that can have animal fur, pollen, molds, or dust mites.
Other helpful medications that can control your symptoms are corticosteroids. Since corticosteroid is highly effective, a small dose can do so much to alleviate your esophageal inflammation. Additionally, proton pump inhibitors can also be given to help decrease the number of eosinophils in your body. However, this form of management needs to be carefully monitored by your doctor to avoid unnecessary complications.
Having EoE may be debilitating since it hampers you to not relish on the simple act of enjoying your meal. Being diagnosed with it can also feel a bit overwhelming knowing that it is under-researched, so you have to manage it the best way you can. Should you need a support group for you and your family as you go through this challenging circumstance, you can reach out to American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders or Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease for additional help.