Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) is a condition that causes inflammation of the oesophagus, the muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Most children who develop this problem also suffer from an allergy, such as a food allergy, asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis)1.
In EoE a large number of white blood cells called eosinophils (pronounced ee-oh-sin-oh-fills) get into the tissue of the oesophagus2. This causes inflammation and problems with the functioning of the oesophagus. EoE can occur at any age although it is most common in children and young adults1. While the cause of EoE is not known, the number of babies and children being diagnosed is increasing1.
The symptoms may include1,2:
- Food sticking on the way down
- Trouble swallowing
- Regurgitation and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Poor growth
It is important to keep in mind that mild reflux and vomiting are common occurrences in young children, and these symptoms cannot be used alone to make a diagnosis of eosinophilic oesophagitis1. If you are worried about a particular symptom which your child may have experienced, you should discuss this with your healthcare professional.
Eosinophilic oesophagitis may be due to a food or pollen allergy.
Most children with EoE have a history of allergies such as a food allergy, hay fever or asthma. On allergy testing, they will often react to certain foods or things in the environment, like pollens2. Positive allergy tests to foods may occur even if there are no obvious symptoms after eating that food1. For those individuals with allergies to pollens, they may find that symptoms get worse during spring and improve at other times of year2. Treatment of both causes of EoE may include dietary changes and/or medications1.
Making changes to your child’s diet can play a major role in the treatment of EoE. Dietary changes should only be undertaken under the supervision of a medical specialist and an Accredited Practising Dietitian. There are three different dietary approaches that your healthcare professional may consider1:
|Elemental diet||A diet which consists of taking an amino acid based formula only|
|Directed Diet||A diet involving the removal of certain foods based on the history of trigger foods and allergy testing|
|Common Food Allergen Elimination Diet||This diet involves removing major food allergens from the diet. This usually includes wheat, eggs, soy, cow’s milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Foods are typically added back in to the diet, one at a time.|
EoE is the most common type of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorder (EGID). The cause of EoE in some individuals appears to be due to an allergy to food(s) and/or airborne allergens.
- 2013. Eosinophilic Oesophagitis. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Viewed 27 May 2016. http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-other-adverse-reactions/eosinophilic-oesophagitis
- 2016. Eosinophilic Esophagitis. American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. Viewed 27 May 2016. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/related-conditions/eosinophilic-esophagitis