People of all ages can be affected by eosinophilic esophagitis, with symptoms that may vary by age range and individual differences. Those who suffer from eosinophilic esophagitis have a large number of eosinophils—a type of white blood cell that is normally found in small numbers in the blood—and inflammation in the esophagus. A large number of eosinophils in the esophagus may result from a food allergy reaction, acid reflux, or airborne allergens, which can contribute to inflammation, or injury to the esophageal tissue.
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An estimated 50 percent of patients with eosinophilic esophagitis also have seasonal allergies or asthma. Many others also have food allergies or eczema. Some patients note a seasonal flare up of the condition, typically in the spring and in the summer. Researchers studying eosinophilic esophagitis theorize that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of the disease. True pollen induced EoE is very rare and occurs in less 1 percent of the patients in pediatrics and maybe slight more in adults. However, seasonal variation in patients with food induced EoE can be seen as high as 25 percent of the patients.
Eosinophilic esophagitis in children
In infants and toddlers, eosinophilic esophagitis can cause irritability, problems with feeding, and poor weight gain. In older children, the disease can cause reflux, regurgitation, vomiting, and/or stomach pain. Teens and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis may also experience these symptoms, in addition to chest pain and trouble swallowing foods—feeling like a food is “stuck” in the esophagus. They may also find themselves drinking a lot of fluids to finish a meal or be unable to finish a meal because they feel full midway through.