Specialists in Gastroenterology
Board Certified Gastroenterologists located in St. Louis, MO
If you have chronic trouble with swallowing food, it could be eosinophilic esophagitis. Medical experts identified this fairly new condition in the 1990s, and today, it’s the most common reason for food that gets stuck in the esophagus. At Specialists in Gastroenterology in St. Louis, Missouri, the group of compassionate board-certified gastroenterologists understands the pain and problems of eosinophilic esophagitis, and they’re here for you. Book an appointment online or call the office today.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis Q & A
What is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an allergic disease affecting the esophagus. If you have EoE, you have too many eosinophils — a specific variety of white blood cells — in your esophagus.
These eosinophils can trigger inflammation inside your esophagus, which leads to a variety of very uncomfortable symptoms.
What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis?
The most common EoE symptoms include:
- Persistent medication-resistant reflux
- Swallowing difficulties, especially with solid foods
- Food sticking in esophagus (food impaction)
- Upper abdominal pain
- Chest pain
If you experience these symptoms frequently, or if you take over-the-counter heartburn medication more than twice weekly, it’s time to see the experts at Specialists in Gastroenterology about EoE.
What causes eosinophilic esophagitis?
The exact cause is uncertain, but researchers and medical experts believe that an immune response to certain foods, environmental factors, or both types of triggers are the likely culprits. Genetics might also play a role.
Experts also believe that certain GI diseases and conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and inflammatory bowel diseases, may trigger an increase in eosinophils and therefore EoE.
There are several established risk factors for EoE, including a family history of the disease, male gender, and having allergies, eczema, or asthma.
How is eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosed?
Specialists in Gastroenterology starts with a comprehensive GI exam and medical history, along with a full symptom review. You may need a minimally invasive procedure, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, aka EGD or upper endoscopy, to identify inflammation in your esophagus.
During the EGD, your Specialists in Gastroenterology doctor obtains a small tissue sample to check for eosinophils (a biopsy).
How is eosinophilic esophagitis treated?
EoE is a chronic condition, but Specialists in Gastroenterology can help you manage symptoms and deter disease progression. Treatment approaches include:
Diet management minimizes your exposure to trigger foods. The team can help you find your trigger foods through an elimination or elemental diet plan.
Medication options can include acid blockers and swallowed corticosteroids.
If you have a narrowing in your esophagus, aka a stricture, diet and medication might not help. Specialists in Gastroenterology may recommend an esophageal dilation procedure to widen your esophagus and improve your comfort level.
EoE doesn’t have to mean continual misery. Specialists in Gastroenterology is here for you, so call the office or click the online scheduler for an appointment.