Eosinophilic esophagitis is when eosinophils (white blood cells) build up in the esophagus (tube between the mouth and stomach) and may result in trouble swallowing, heartburn and reflux.
The three main choices to care for your eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) are
changes to your diet, using certain medications and esophageal dilation.
Along with your GI doctor, you also need to see an expert registered dietitian (RD) for this condition. Your GI doctor and RD will talk with you about which choices are best for your case of EoE.
There are a few diet options that could help you care for your EoE. Do not start any of these diets unless your doctor or RD tells you to do so:
Diet management involves repeat endoscopies with tissue sample as foods are reintroduced to find out which foods are tolerated.
As of now, the FDA has not approved any drugs for the treatment of EoE. However, some doctors have found these to help ease the pain of EoE in certain patients:
In some patients, there may be scarring and narrowing of the esophagus (the tube that links your mouth and your stomach) that diet therapy or medications may not treat. As a result, some patients may need to have this area of their esophagus “stretched.”
Even with a firm answer, it can feel frustrating, or even scary, to keep having symptoms. The first question to think about is:
If you are on either a food management plan or drugs, and your symptoms have been there for at least six months, you should speak with your GI doctor about trying both at once to help your EoE symptoms or about other options you may
For some, hearing that they have EoE is a relief, a reason for their symptoms and a light at the end of the tunnel. For others, it can be scary and daunting. Many will have a mix of feelings. All of this is completely normal.
No matter what you may be feeling upon hearing you have EoE, know that you are not alone. If you are getting overwhelmed by your new diagnosis, don’t wait to reach out to a mental-health expert to talk through the changes.
Working with your health-care team (GI doctor, nutritionist, allergist), you can make a health and nutrition plan just for you, to help put you in control of your symptoms and your life.
There are a number of support groups for caregivers and patients with EoE. Reach out to your GI doctor, registered dietitian, local hospital or community center for more details.
American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) is a trusted resource for adult, child and teen patients, caregivers, health-care providers and researchers.