Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE)
What is Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)?
White blood cells are an important part of a healthy immune system, helping to fight off disease and infection. In some individuals, however, white blood cells can attack harmless substances that enter the body, including certain foods. This can cause inflammation and other allergy symptoms.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic (long-term) allergic condition in which large numbers of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, build up inside the esophagus and cause inflammation. EoE can occur anywhere between the mouth and the entrance to the stomach.
EoE is part of a group of diseases known as eosinophilic gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Although these conditions are rare, EoE is the most common type.
What Are the Symptoms of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)?
EoE can affect children of all ages, but it is most often found in adolescents. Symptoms may differ depending on a child’s age. For example, young children may have feeding issues or failure to thrive. Adolescents are more likely to experience trouble swallowing or food getting stuck in the esophagus.
Symptoms that may indicate EoE include:
- Feeding issues
- Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia
- Failure to thrive
- Weight loss
- Heartburn or chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Food getting stuck in the throat
- Vomiting or regurgitation
Untreated EoE can cause further complications, including scarring and narrowing of the esophagus. This can make symptoms worse and interfere with eating and nutrition.
EoE can be difficult to diagnose based only on symptoms. If a child’s symptoms suggest EoE, the pediatrician will refer you to a GI specialist. An endoscopy is performed to help make the diagnosis.
What Are the Treatment and Management Options for EOE?
Nationwide Children’s Hospital provides expert diagnosis and care to children and adolescents with EoE. Learn more about the Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) Clinic.