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Eosinophilic esophagitis

What is eosinophilic esophagitis?

Inflammation in your esophagus may be the result of eosinophilic esophagitis. Although the specific cause for the swelling is not known, the condition is thought to result from your immune system’s response to food allergies or other allergens. The allergic reaction triggers the buildup of white blood cells called eosinophils. As a result, the lining of your esophagus becomes swollen, which interferes with the normal contractions of the muscles and the movement of food to the stomach.

Eosinophilic esophagitis: What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may vary, but can include:

  • Trouble swallowing food
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Regurgitation of undigested food
  • Choking while eating

It is very important that you do not ignore symptoms of choking or food getting stuck, which is never normal. Many people delay a diagnosis because they learn to handle the problem by drinking lots of water or eating very small amounts. This is especially common in younger people. This delay can lead to more serious problems that often result in visits to the emergency room.

How is eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosed?

Our skilled gastroenterologists have years of expertise in diagnosing and treating swallowing disorders. After an initial exam and a review of your medical history, our physician may perform an upper endoscopy to see inside the esophagus and obtain a sample or biopsy of the tissue. This is an outpatient procedure done with sedation.

Once the tissue sample is examined, if the cells from the lining are found to be abnormal, our team will attempt to identify the root cause of the allergic reaction. This often includes dietary interventions, further testing, or trials of therapy.

Eosinophilic esophagitis: Our expertise

Changes in diet

Allergy testing may be needed to help you eliminate foods from your diet that can be causing an immune response. Foods may need to be eliminated one at a time or you may be asked to eliminate a group of foods that most often cause allergic reactions, such as milk, eggs, nuts or shellfish until a specific item can be identified.


There is no cure for eosinophilic esophagitis, which is a chronic condition. However, in addition to dietary changes and limiting exposure to allergens, medications can be used to help manage the symptoms. The most common medications include antacid medications, or proton pump inhibitors, to reduce acid in the stomach and steroids to control inflammation. In addition, our University of Florida team of gastroenterologists are researching novel therapies for this disease.

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