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Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

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What is EoE?

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a disease that causes swelling in the esophagus (the swallowing tube). The swelling is caused by high numbers of eosinophils found in the esophagus. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that helps us fight off infection and are also involved in allergic reactions. Eosinophils are found in small numbers in the blood and the intestine, but can cause damage if they are found in high numbers in other areas of the body. No one knows the exact cause of EoE, but it may be related to other allergic conditions such as asthma, food allergies, and indoor or seasonal allergies.

What you may see in your child:

  • Vomiting or reflux
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Poor weight gain
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Poor appetite

How can the doctor tell if my child has EoE?

The only way to tell if someone has EoE is to look in their esophagus through a camera-guided scope. A sample of tissue is taken from tissue inside the esophagus. The tissue is examined under a microscope. This test is called an Upper Endoscopy with Biopsies. Once the doctor knows your child has EoE, he/she may be referred to an allergist for allergy testing to help decide the best treatment for your child.

How do you treat it?

It is generally treated by avoiding foods your child is allergic to and/or with medications. If allergy tests find that your child has food allergies, then you will not give your child those foods. The most common foods that children with food allergies need to avoid are:

  • milk
  • soy 
  • eggs 
  • wheat 
  • nuts 
  • fish/shellfish

Some children must follow a strict diet and use a special formula. Your physician can help you decide which diet is right for your child.

Some children must also take medications. Swallowed corticosteroid medication may be ordered by the doctor to help control swelling and decrease the number of eosinophils in the esophagus. Medications that help decrease acid in the stomach and esophagus may be ordered if your child has reflux. If medications are needed for your child, the doctor or nurse will teach you how to give them.

Call you child’s doctor if your child’s symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 01/2018

(757) 668-7000