Are Acid Reflux Problems A Sign of Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic immune system disease that causes a type of white blood cells, eosinophil, to build up in the lining of your oesophagus. This build up causes the esophageal tissue to become inflamed and damaged, making it difficult to eat and to swallow. 

The exact cause of this disease is unknown, but it is thought it may have a genetic link as it occurs more often in people with a family history of allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other allergy related illnesses. It also affects more males than females and is more common during high pollen seasons like spring and autumn.

Signs of Eosinophilic Esophagitis

  • Food getting stuck after swallowing
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Regurgitation of undigested food
  • Chest pain that isn’t relieved by antacids

In children and infants, the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis presents as:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Stunted growth from malnutrition
  • Dysphagia

Usually, only a specialist gastroenterologist can diagnose eosinophilic esophagitis after a series of tests. Since this condition has only been identified within the last 30 years, it is sometimes misdiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, including acid reflux.

Acid Reflux
Also known as heartburn, acid reflux is an often painful condition where stomach acid is released back up into the oesophagus. It may only occur once in a while or it can turn into a more chronic condition. Acid reflux is often triggered by certain foods, drinks, and medications.

Other causes include:

  • Eating close to bedtime
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Cigarettes
  • Stress and anxiety

Eosinophilic esophagitis has similar symptoms to heartburn which is why it is sometimes confused with acid reflux.

Heartburn symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Burning feeling in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or acid
  • Excessive burping 

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic condition that requires ongoing maintenance. Patients will have to avoid certain foods and take medications such as topical steroids or proton pump inhibitors (PPI) that reduce stomach acid.

Heartburn can often be treated with over-the-counter antacids, but if it is more persistent, PPI’s like Lansoprazole and Omeprazole can be prescribed to provide more relief. Lansoprazole Capsules and Omeprazole Losec capsules are available online in the UK from Pharmacy Planet.