Sufferers of eosinophilic esophagitis may face limited esophageal function or a full blockage of the esophagus. This condition can go from troublesome to dangerous very quickly, so if you’re struggling to swallow your food, it’s a good idea to see your physician.
What Is It?
Eosinophilic esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus that’s tied to allergies, asthma, and acid reflux. Those who suffer from the condition have problems successfully swallowing food. The esophageal tissue becomes filled with white blood cells, stiffens, and ceases to function normally. Whether the sufferer is infected or not, this inflammation is caused by a collection of white blood cells. The body is treating this area of the esophagus as an infection and will continue to do so if the irritant isn’t avoided or addressed.
How Common Is It?
Eosinophilic esophagitis is more common among men and boys and is prevalent in people who suffer from respiratory and food allergies. It’s important to note that respiratory allergens can become trapped in the esophageal tissue and cause inflammation. Common food allergens include eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, and shellfish. Sufferers struggling with this condition may find ease in taking allergy suppressants, but the esophagus may still remain inflamed and stiff. This muscular tube is crucial to safely moving food to your stomach, so any failure of the esophagus to do its job can severely impact your health.
What’s the Treatment?
If the eosinophilic esophagitis is caused by irritation from reflux, managing the reflux is crucial. This may mean changing your eating schedule, taking medication before bed, or switching up your diet. As the condition is most commonly caused by an allergic response to something, undergoing an elimination diet is a good first start to determining the source of the irritation. Once the allergen has been determined, dietary changes will need to be put in place to avoid additional flare-ups. A regimen of allergy suppressants may also assist in controlling the inflammation. Living with it is a major pain, but it is manageable. Surgery may be necessary if the condition is severe, or the esophagus may need to be stretched to allow food to pass.
Undergoing an elimination diet can be frustrating and limiting, but it’s a good first step to addressing any allergic response of the body. Sufferers may feel empowered when given the chance to take control of their condition and come to understand why they’re ill and what they can do about it.
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