What Is Eosinophilic Esophagitis? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
The esophagus is a long muscular tube that goes from your throat all the way down to your stomach, and it’s a pathway for the food to travel down for digestion. Sometimes, there can be issues with the esophagus and it can lead to problems. Therefore, visiting an allergy clinic immediately should be your move. Here is everything you need to know about eosinophilic esophagitis.
If there is something wrong with your esophagus, especially if there’s an infection or an immune deficiency, then swallowing food can be a huge problem for you. Your throat and esophagus may become swollen and it can also develop abscesses (rings around the esophagus).
Eosinophilic esophagitis, also known as EoE or EE, is a condition caused by either an infection, a compromise in the immune system, or an allergy that can cause the esophagus to swell and prevents smooth swallowing of food. It can also cause pain in the neck, whenever you try to swallow something or even saliva.
The esophagus is basically a stretchy muscle and it can expand and contract accordingly. In eosinophilic esophagitis, the contraction stops and the esophagus can become very tight to the point where you can’t even swallow without feeling immense pain.
This can be a huge problem because this condition can hinder your eating ability and a lot of people feel dread when they’re trying to eat and swallow something. This disorder is very common to occur in males and it can occur at a young or old age.
Causes Of Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis is primarily caused due to an allergen or infection. Whenever there is a foreign body inside your bloodstream, like an allergy trigger or just a normal infection germ, the immune system is triggered to produce a lot of white blood cells, in order to protect your body against these foreign invaders and it activates your body’s defense mechanism.
In doing so, sometimes, the amount of white blood cells can exceed a certain amount and the extra cells can start to accumulate around the esophagus. These white blood cells, that are accumulated in the lining of the esophagus, are known as eosinophils and once they’re latched onto the muscle, they can cause the esophagus to swell and the tissue might get severely damaged as well.
This in turn, can cause a lot of pain whenever you try to eat and swallow something. Because the pressure exerted on your tender muscle can be a lot and it triggers pain receptors and that’s how your brain registers the pain in the neck.
These allergens may be present in the atmosphere, like flowers, pollen, wind, pet fur and dander, certain foods, dust, and even hay. In a lot of cases, the immune system can also be triggered by an infection that can lead to the overproduction of white blood cells or eosinophils. For correct diagnosis, get the appointment of an allergy doctor Manassas.
Symptoms Of Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Here are some general symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis:
Inability To Swallow Solid Food
Firstly, you will be unable to swallow anything that is solid. You’ll want to resort to a semi-solid or liquid diet for the time being, because it’s painful to swallow a ball of solid food, to the point of throwing up. In infants and young children, this problem might be prevalent as well and they will make a fuss when you try to feed them.
Pain From The Neck To The Abdomen
There will be pain in the neck area and it can radiate all the way down to your abdomen. In a lot of cases, when this condition is overlooked for a long time, it can lead to swelling of the whole esophagus and it can also cause pain in the stomach area, especially when you’re trying to eat something.
Since the esophagus isn’t able to contract, there will be a recoil action by the muscle that will cause you to feel nauseous and, in some cases, people can also vomit the contents out.
You will lose weight a lot quickly because you’re not replenishing your body with food and it can lead to overall poor health.
There can also be pain in the chest area. The pain will be similar to the one in your neck, but there will also be lingering tightness in the chest and it can feel quite uncomfortable, especially when you’re eating something.
In a lot of adults, heartburn can be a huge issue.
Loss Of Appetite Because Of Pain During Eating
Because of the pain and the overall discomfort, you’ll not want to eat food at all and this can lead to an overall low appetite. This doesn’t mean that you won’t feel hungry, but the thought of going through a powerful fit of pain during swallowing will scare you to the point where you’ll think that not eating is a better option.
Treatment For Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Not eating food at all because of a swollen esophagus is not the solution. Here are some treatment options for you to consider if you’re feeling these symptoms. It’s important that you see a doctor immediately for this issue because the quicker this disorder is treated, the better it is for you.
Steroids For Pain Management
There is no certain treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis because it is caused by allergens and it’s treated just like an allergic reaction where the symptoms are treated in order to alleviate the pain.
There are steroids that you can take to manage the pain and swelling of the esophagus. These medications are prescribed especially, when there are major and alarming symptoms like drastic weight loss and overall loss of appetite.
There are medications available called acid suppressors and they can also help with the inflammation in the esophagus. These acids contain proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and they can help with nausea, regurgitation of food, and swelling.
Avoidance Of The Allergen
If eosinophilic esophagitis and its associated reactions are caused because of certain foods, then it’s important to eliminate them from your diet and see the changes. You’ll probably have to get an allergy test for that just to double-check that you’re actually allergic to certain kinds of foods.
Amino Acid Formulas
Another change that you can add to your diet is the introduction of amino acid formulas, as they are going to help get rid of swelling and inflammation completely and you can get back to eating foods normally again.
Bear in mind, however, that the taste of amino acid formulas can be hard to get used to. Some people might not be too thrilled about this mode of treatment, but it does work wonders.
Alternatively, there is an emergency surgical procedure that can stretch the esophagus and that’s known as dilation. In this procedure, the esophagus is stretched manually, so that you can eat foods and swallow without feeling pain.
You can also try immunotherapy for the management of reactions and allergens. Your allergies can be treated permanently and you can get back to your normal eating routine, provided that your allergy is treatable via allergy shots.
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a treatable disease, as far as symptoms are concerned, but if you let it go unnoticed, it can lead to severe problems. This is why it’s important to be knowledgeable about the symptoms and treatment options for this disorder. Moreover, the sooner you go to an allergy center Germantown, the better it will be for your health.