Eosinophilic (ee-uh-sin-uh-fil-ik) esophagitis (EoE) is a recently recognized allergic/immune condition. A person with EoE will have inflammation or swelling of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that sends food from the mouth to the stomach.
In EoE, large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils are found in the tissue of the esophagus. Normally there are no eosinophils in the esophagus. EoE can occur at any age and most commonly occurs in Caucasian males. The symptoms of EoE vary with age. In infants and toddlers, you may notice that they refuse their food or are not growing properly. School-age children often have recurring abdominal pain, trouble swallowing or vomiting. Teenagers and adults most often have difficulty swallowing. The esophagus can narrow to the point that food gets stuck. This is called food impaction and is a medical emergency.
Allergists and gastroenterologists are seeing many more patients with EoE. This is due to an increase in the frequency of EoE and greater physician awareness. EoE is considered to be a chronic condition.
Other diseases can also result in eosinophils in the esophagus. One example is acid reflux.