Causes & Risk For Eosinophilic Esophagitis

October 9, 2023

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an allergic condition that affects the esophagus. Some medical professionals also think it is an immune disorder, which means the individual's immune system mistakenly attacks their body. Eosinophilic esophagitis causes the esophagus, the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach, to become inflamed. When the doctor examines the throat, they find a large number of white blood cells called eosinophils. These blood cells are usually not found in the throat. The condition can strike both adults and children, though they present with different symptoms. Learn about some major causes of eosinophilic esophagitis now.

Esophageal Damage

The inflammation of eosinophilic esophagitis can cause esophageal damage. The way the white blood cells build up inside the esophagus can cause it to narrow. Sometimes, the esophagus narrows to the point where it is difficult to swallow, and food can even get stuck in the esophagus on the way down. This is called impaction and is a medical emergency. If the food cannot be swallowed, it can be removed through an endoscope. The food is at risk of being regurgitated because it is unable to pass to the stomach. The esophagus can also develop scar tissue or fibrous tissue because of eosinophilic esophagitis.

Get to know more causes and risk factors of this condition now.

Multiplication Of The Eosinophils

Eosinophils are formed in the bone marrow and are then released into the bloodstream, though they are not supposed to multiply. When there is the multiplication of the eosinophils, they secrete substances including eosinophil protein X, eosinophilic cationic protein, major basic protein, eosinophil peroxidase, TGF-β, and eosinophil-derived neurotoxin. These substances not only damage the cells in the esophagus but also activate bodies called mast cells, which are other kinds of white blood cells that release compounds that further damage the esophageal tissue. TGF-β is one of the main culprits in causing the esophagus to become dangerously narrow and dysfunctional.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes and risk factors of eosinophilic esophagitis.

Chest Or Stomach Pain

Chest or stomach pain or both is another symptom of eosinophilic esophagitis. An individual with chest pain who is not sure what is causing it should seek medical help right away, as the pain could be from a heart attack. In the case of eosinophilic esophagitis, the chest pain stays in the center of the chest and doesn’t radiate to the left arm or the jaw the way the pain of a heart attack sometimes does. The pain is not relieved by taking antacids or medications for gastrointestinal reflux disorder. In adults, stomach pain is felt in the upper part of their abdomen, while in children the pain is found generally in their abdominal area. They do not seem to suffer from the sort of chest pain adults suffer from.

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Dysphagia means difficulty in swallowing, and there are two main types of this disorder. In one, the patient feels they can’t begin to swallow, and in the other, they feel that the food is stuck in their throat or high up in their chest. This is called esophageal dysphagia, and it is the type that accompanies eosinophilic esophagitis. It is important for doctors to determine the type of dysphagia because the treatments differ. In some cases, the food may return and taste just like the food the patient has tried to swallow. Individuals who find it difficult to swallow have a harder time swallowing solids than they do liquids.

Keep reading for more information on the risk factors and causes of eosinophilic esophagitis now.

Allergic Reaction In The Esophagus

Eosinophilic esophagitis is often the result of a food or pollen allergy, and when the allergens make contact with the esophageal lining, it starts a reaction that leads to inflammation. Eosinophils are associated with allergic reactions, as they are inflammatory themselves and bathe the area in chemicals that cause further inflammation. Because the allergic reaction in the esophagus can be caused by certain foods such as dairy, nuts, or wheat, individuals who have eosinophilic esophagitis are placed on a diet excluding these foods. Many patients find relief from their eosinophilic esophagitis when they discover what foods they’re allergic to and are put on a diet that excludes them.

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