Eosinophilic Esophagitis (commonly referred to as EoE) often looks and feels like acid reflux disease, but it doesn't respond to the common treatments. Your doctor might not be able to tell the difference between the two conditions without running some telltale diagnostic tests.

The Cause of Eosinophilic Esophagitis

EoE is a condition that's been increasing in recent years and is believed to be caused by an allergic reaction to common food proteins. Exposure to these allergens leads to an increase in white blood cells called eospinophils and this causes inflammation inside the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach). The inflammation can lead to a host of symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, pain upon swallowing, heartburn, abdominal pain, chest pain, and vomiting.

Diagnosing Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Since many of these symptoms can also occur with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), many doctors typically treat the reflux first and if this doesn't resolve the problem, the next step will be to perform testing to see if EoE exists. Such a formal diagnosis often requires a coordinated effort between an allergist and a gastroenterologist.

The types of diagnostic techniques medical practitioners might use include endoscopy (a medical device used to examine the esophagus) and a biopsy of the affected area. In addition, the doctors will need to know if you have a history of seasonal and/or food allergies, since this can put you at higher risk.

What You Can Do About EoE

If you believe you have EoE, you should see your doctor to confirm the condition and find out what treatment approach will be the most effective for you. Also, work with an allergist to identify possible allergy culprits that might trigger a reaction. Once you can narrow it down to a few specific food proteins, remove them from your diet to see if that provides symptom relief.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Treatment

To treat your symptoms, some doctors may prescribe oral steroids that you can take using an inhaler or nebulizer, since this approach has been used with great success in many patients. There are also some alternative forms of treatment worth considering, such as sprays to coat the back of the throat or a gel-form oral corticosteroid to coat the esophagus lining.




"Adult Eosinophilic Esophagitis: More Common and Treatable with Corticosteroids." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2011.

"Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.  AAAAI, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2011.

"What is EoE?" American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders. APED, 19 April 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2011.