During the holidays, people typically consume more food and often eat rich or unfamiliar foods at house parties or potlucks. According to researchers, these sudden and significant changes in diet can make people more prone to progressing into inflammatory disorders such as eosinophilic esophagitis.
Dr. Lubin Arevalo, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the department of medicine-gastroenterology, explained in a recent press release that, “One of these conditions is called eosinophilic esophagitis which is an inflammatory disorder of the esophagus. Some individuals with this condition may have allergic reactions to certain foods that can promote the inflammation in the esophagus.”
These disorders can lead to stiffening and narrowing of the esophagus, subsequently causing a difficulty in swallowing — a condition called dysphagia — which can lead to food getting stuck in the esophagus. It is more likely that people with a history of food allergies develop dysphagic issues.
A eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosis is made through performing an upper endoscopy with biopsy to better evaluate the esophagus, though some special procedures might be needed in addition to these as well. The main symptoms of the condition are difficulty in swallowing, choking issues, and food impaction. An appropriate treatment for the condition is not well established in the medical community, but in the majority of the cases, it can be treated by avoiding and restricting specific foods and by taking medications.
Treatment for the condition at BCM includes consultation from a nutritionist, a gastroenterologist, and a doctor specialized in allergies and immunology. When patients present with symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis, they can receive an appointment that very same day at Baylor.
“It’s important to diagnose and treat eosinophilic esophagitis as soon as possible because as it progresses symptoms become more frequent and, in some cases, can prevent patients from eating,” Arevalo said.