If you have difficulty swallowing or food gets stuck in your esophagus, you may have eosinophilic esophagitis, a condition that affects children and adults. The board-certified physicians at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, LTD, with two locations in Scottsdale and another in Gilbert, Arizona, have extensive experience diagnosing and treating eosinophilic esophagitis because allergies cause the condition. Struggling to get food into your stomach leads to malnutrition, takes a toll on your health, and requires prompt treatment. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices or book an appointment online today.
Eosinophilic esophagitis occurs when white blood cells called eosinophils accumulate in your esophagus -- the tube carrying food from your mouth to your stomach. The eosinophils cause inflammation that damages the esophageal lining.
Eosinophilic esophagitis develops when your immune system mounts an allergic response to a food or environmental substances such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal dander.
The immune reaction triggers the accumulation of eosinophils in the esophagus. Repeated exposure to the irritant or allergen results in chronic inflammation and scarring.
Though not as common, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may cause or further aggravate eosinophilic esophagitis.
The esophagus narrows due to the inflammation and scar tissue, leading to symptoms such as:
In addition to the above symptoms, children often experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
After reviewing your symptoms and completing a physical exam, your provider at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, LTD, conducts allergy testing to identify your allergens.
Your provider may also order blood tests or an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, they insert a narrow scope with a camera into your esophagus, allowing your provider to examine the esophageal lining.
Your treatment focuses on eliminating eosinophils, reducing the inflammation, and controlling your symptoms. Your personalized treatment plan may include:
If you have a food allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis improves when you eliminate that food from your diet. Even if you don’t have a specific food allergy, your symptoms may improve with a special diet.
Taking a topical steroid reduces inflammation. This medication comes in the form of a liquid you swallow so that it comes into contact with esophageal tissues. If acid reflux contributes to the problem, a proton pump inhibitor may help.
In many cases, dietary changes and medications relieve your symptoms and restore normal function to the esophagus. If you have a severe esophageal narrowing or it stays constricted despite your treatment, your provider may perform an endoscopy to dilate the esophagus.
If you develop symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis, don’t wait to get help. Call or schedule an appointment online today.