Difficulty swallowing or food getting stuck? Why it’s important to check for eosinophilic esophagitis:

Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia, is when it feels hard or painful to swallow food, drinks, or medication. This can happen for many reasons, but one important cause is a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis (also called EoE).

 

EoE is a condition where the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach, gets inflamed. This inflammation is caused by a type of white blood cell called eosinophils. Because EoE is also related to the immune system, people with allergic conditions like allergies, asthma and eczema are more likely to get EoE.

 

Signs of EoE vary depending on age, but in older children, teens and adults, the most common symptoms are difficulty swallowing, food feeling “stuck”, chest pain, and heartburn. When untreated or undiagnosed, EoE can lead to narrowing of the esophagus and food impaction (food getting stuck in the esophagus) which is a medical emergency.

 

EoE is diagnosed with the help of gastroenterologists by doing a simple procedure called upper endoscopy and taking biopsies of the esophagus. Once diagnosed, EoE can be managed by your allergy or GI team. There are numerous treatment options for EoE, including dietary changes, and different types of oral or injectable medication. Often, EoE requires a repeat biopsy to make sure the treatment is working. Getting evaluated by a doctor is important to find the right treatment and prevent serious complications. If you have allergies, asthma, or eczema and find it hard to swallow, don’t ignore it—talk to your allergist!