Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic allergic disease of the esophagus — the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach. It is most common in children and young adults. It is characterized by food impaction (food stuck in the throat), dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
It is also accompanied by a high number of white blood cells (eosinophils) lining the esophagus, where they are not usually found. Also, the usual symptoms occur much later than the typical food allergy.
One indicator that confirms the diagnosis of EoE is that proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid® or Prilosec — common treatments for GERD — are noneffective. An exact diagnosis requires an upper endoscopy with biopsies taken of the esophageal tract.
The current usual treatments are avoidance of foods that typically cause allergic reactions, the use of steroidal anti-inflammatories, and esophageal dilation.
Learn more about eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition (Digestive Disorders) and the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases Program.