Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) occurs as the result of an allergic inflammation of your esophagus that makes it hard to swallow. Commonly, everyday interactions with the environment (pollen or grasses) or to food (especially wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, seafood and soy) cause this type of reaction.
At UVA, we treat EoE with a team approach. A GI doctor, allergist, dietitian and nurse coordinator collaborate to find solutions that get you back to normal eating and drinking as soon as possible.
No cure exists to treat EoE. But we have options that can reduce the swelling and swallowing problems in your throat.
Identifying & Avoiding Allergens
Because EoE often develops from food allergies, we first identify the source of your inflammation, with:
- Blood tests
- Elimination diets (removing foods from your diet under a dietitian's supervision)
Alone or in combination, these tools can isolate the specific foods you should avoid completely.
Medications That Control Swelling
You can find relief from inflammation and swelling, with these medication options:
- Low doses of steroids that coat your esophagus
- Proton pump inhibitors, which also reduce acid production in your stomach
Do You Have EoE?
Look for symptoms like:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Food getting stuck in your esophagus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Unintended weight loss
- Burning in throat similar to heartburn
If we suspect EoE, we'll perform an endoscopy to examine sample tissue from your esophagus.
We'll know you have EoE if we find eosinophils in the tissue of your esophagus. Eosinophils, a type of white blood cell that are part of the immune system associated with allergies, normally don't populate the esophagus.