What is EoE and how is it treated?
Though it has only been identified since the early 1990s, Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) has come to be known as a major cause of gastrointestinal illness. Though there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding EoE, ongoing research hopes to provide patients and medical professionals with more insights in the future.
EoE is considered a chronic and invisible illness, and while it manifests most often in young males, it is a condition that anyone can develop. Below, we’ll be looking at the details of EoE, what causes it, and the treatment options that are available — read on to learn more.
What is EoE?
EoE is a chronic disease that manifests in the esophagus (the tube that transports food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach). For those with EoE, a type of white blood cell called eosinophils build up in the esophagus which causes damage and inflammation. This can lead to difficulty swallowing and a higher likelihood of food getting stuck in the throat.
“EoE is rarely a life-threatening condition, but it is a chronic one that should be properly treated,” says Tonya Winders, President of Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform. “The symptoms can vary from person to person, but many can be uncomfortable and distressing. Fortunately, most people with EoE respond well to either drug therapy or dietary therapy, enabling them to manage the condition well.”
What are the symptoms of EoE?
People of different ages can develop EoE, and the symptoms typically vary with age. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Food getting stuck in the throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss and a loss of appetite
Many EoE symptoms overlap with those of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), so ruling GERD out is typically the first step toward diagnosis.
What causes EoE?
The presence of eosinophils in the digestive tract is normal, but researchers are not certain about what causes the body to produce and accumulate them excessively. It is thought that it may be due to an allergic reaction to foods and environmental substances such as pollen, dander, and mold, but more research is needed to better understand the condition.
How is EoE treated?
EoE currently has no known cure and is considered a chronic relapsing disease, as most patients will require ongoing treatment to manage symptoms. Typically, treatment will involve a combination of diet limitations, a prescription acid blocker, and a topical steroid for the esophagus.
Knowledge about conditions such as EoE would not be possible without researchers and patients taking the time to conduct and participate in clinical trials. If you might be interested in moving science forward, search for open studies today.