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What is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

Laura J. Wozniak, MD
Pediatrics
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is long-term (chronic) inflammation of the esophagus triggered mostly by food allergens. It is the most common of a group of diseases marked by an increased number of white blood cells (eosinophils) in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

EoE occurs in about 1 out of 1,000 people. Symptoms can be mistaken for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Younger children may have abdominal pain, poor feeding and failure to thrive. Adolescents tend to have difficulty swallowing.

Endoscopy with biopsies are needed to diagnose EoE. Skin and blood allergy tests often help families better understand how food allergens may contribute to the child’s underlying condition. If certain food allergens are a significant contributor to the disease, carefully eliminating and reintroducing foods to the diet can help further identify any triggers.
 
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.
Eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, are a part of the immune system, helping us fight off certain types of infections. When a large number of eosinophils occur in the body without a known cause, an eosinophilic disorder may be present. Many different problems, including gastrointestinal disorders, can cause high numbers of eosinophils in the blood. Eosinophilic disorders are further defined by the area affected -- eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) means there is an abnormal number of eosinophils in the esophagus. Most adults with EE respond favorably to dietary restrictions. If dietary measures do not resolve the symptoms, steroid medication may be used.

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