You may not think to consult an allergy specialist when you develop eosinophilic esophagitis, because it causes difficulty swallowing. But the primary cause of this disorder is a food allergy, which is why you can count on Laura Ispas, MD, of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute, to provide the diagnostic testing and treatment you need. If you have questions, or you suddenly develop symptoms and need a same-day visit, call the office in Leesburg, VA and serving the greater Lansdowne, VA and Ashburn, VA areas, for help with eosinophilic esophagitis.
What is eosinophilic esophagitis?
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic condition that develops when white blood cells called eosinophils build up in your esophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. As a result, the tissue lining your esophagus becomes inflamed, swollen, and damaged.
What causes eosinophilic esophagitis?
The primary cause of eosinophilic esophagitis is a food allergy. The same food proteins responsible for your food allergy cause the adverse reaction in your esophagus.
Environmental allergies to substances such as pollen, molds, dust mites, and animal dander can also lead to eosinophilic esophagitis. Less frequently, it may arise from acid reflux or an injury to the esophagus.
What symptoms will I develop due to eosinophilic esophagitis?
As the esophagus becomes inflamed, the tube narrows, causing symptoms such as:
Symptoms in adults:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Food stuck in the esophagus
- Chest pain
- Acid reflux
- Prolonged heartburn
Children also have a hard time swallowing and can get food impacted in their esophagus, but their primary symptoms are vomiting and abdominal pain.
Young children may not be able to express that they’re struggling to swallow. Instead, they may become irritable or refuse to eat certain foods.
Eosinophilic esophagitis may persist from childhood into adulthood, and without treatment, it’s known for having a high recurrence rate.
How is eosinophilic esophagitis and treated?
Allergy testing is the first step toward treating eosinophilic esophagitis. Dr. Ispas performs skin testing to determine which food triggers the problem.
During a skin prick test, a small amount of food allergen is introduced into your skin using a small prick. You’ll develop a skin reaction within about 15 minutes if you’re allergic to any of the food proteins tested.
After your allergen is diagnosed, Dr. Ispas works with you to develop a plan to eliminate that food from your diet. When these foods are removed from your diet, eosinophilic esophagitis should improve and stay under control.
Although there aren’t any medications that treat eosinophilic esophagitis, corticosteroids can control the esophageal inflammation. If eosinophilic esophagitis returns or worsens, you may need an endoscopy.
During an endoscopy, a narrow tube containing a light and video camera is inserted through your mouth and into your esophagus. The procedure lets your doctor examine the tissues and take a biopsy if necessary.
If you or your child experience any symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis, call Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute or book an appointment online.