Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Board-Certified Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition located throughout Illinois
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is a recently recognized disease that is diagnosed in one to four of every 10,000 people in the United States. Fifty percent of patients with eosinophilic esophagitis also have seasonal allergies or asthma, while many others suffer from food allergies or eczema. If you think your child has EE, call or make an appointment online today at one of the seven locations of The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition throughout Illinois.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis Q & A
What is eosinophilic esophagitis?
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic disease that affects your child’s immune system. As a chronic allergic inflammatory illness, EE flare-ups cause a specific type of white blood cell called eosinophil to build up in the lining of your child’s esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.
Identified in the last two decades, EE is considered a major cause of digestive illness. The buildup that results from EE is a reaction to foods, allergens, or acid reflux and results in either inflammation or injury your child’s esophageal tissue. This damage causes difficulty swallowing, making food get stuck when it’s eaten.
What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis?
Children with eosinophilic esophagitis often experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Burning sensation similar to acid reflux or heartburn.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Frequent gagging
If your child’s EE goes untreated, scarring causes his or her esophagus to narrow.
How is eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosed?
After reviewing your child’s medical history and symptoms, the doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition perform several tests to diagnose him or her with eosinophilic esophagitis including:
A long narrow tube containing a light and tiny camera allows your child’s doctor to inspect the lining of your child’s esophagus for signs of EE.
The doctors remove small bits of tissue during an endoscopy and examine them under a microscope.
Help confirm your child’s diagnosis and its causes.
How is eosinophilic esophagitis treated?
The doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition often begin treatment for EE through dietary therapy and elimination of specific foods from your child’s diet. If this approach doesn’t relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation, your child’s doctor prescribes medication:
- Proton pump inhibitor: acid blockers
- Swallowable topical steroid
There’s no known cure for eosinophilic esophagitis. Therefore, treatment is designed to help reduce damage to your child’s esophagus and alleviate his or her symptoms. The doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition design individualized treatment plans for each patient. To find what works best for your child, call or make an appointment online today at one of the seven locations in the Southern and Western Chicago suburbs.