GI Systems & Disorders

At Minnesota Gastroenterology, we know that patients and families want to know as much as they can about the GI system and disorders that affect their daily lives.  Refer to the list below to find the information that is most helpful to you.  If you still have questions, please contact us through our website Quick Links or call (612) 871-1145 to make an office appointment.

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Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

What is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?
Eosinophilic esophagitis is one of many types of esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus). It is not as common as reflux esophagitis, but has many of the same symptoms. It is caused by an abnormal accumulation of eosinophils in the lining of the esophagus (swallowing tube). Eosinophils are a type of blood cell that can be seen in the esophagus. In this condition they are present at an increased level. The reason for this increased accumulation is due to an abnormal reaction to a certain food. Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic condition, meaning it may reoccur or last a lifetime.

What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis?
Symptoms often include difficulty swallowing or the feeling that food is getting caught or stuck in the esophagus. Symptoms may also include chest pain and heartburn.

Who gets eosinophilic esophagitis?
Eosinophilic esophagitis is becoming more prevalent and affects 1 out of 2,000 people. . It can occur in any age, gender or ethnicity but is most common in men in their 20-30s. Often individuals with eosinophilic esophagitis have allergies or an allergic disorder (i.e. asthma, allergic rhinitis, urticaria, etc.). Children can also be affected.

How do you know if you have eosinophilic esophagitis?
The only way to diagnose eosinophilic esophagitis is by upper endoscopy with biopsies (tissue samples) of the esophagus. Upper endoscopy or EGD (esophagogastro-duodenoscopy) is a procedure where a small lighted tube is passed through your mouth into your esophagus, stomach, and first portion of your small intestine. The tube that is used has a camera within it and is connected to a computer. This test allows the doctor to see the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and first portion of your small intestine. Pictures can be taken and can be part of your medical record. Biopsies can be taken at the time of endoscopy. There is no pain associated with taking biopsies.

Findings at the time of endoscopy can show a normal appearing esophagus or an esophagus that appears to have many rings (somewhat like a spring). Biopsies show an increase in the amount of eosinophils that are present.

How is eosinophilic esophagitis treated?
Treatment includes either medication or dietary management. These options will be discussed with your healthcare provider to determine which is most appropriate.