Children's Health℠ is home to the only comprehensive pediatric program in Texas for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), inflammation of the esophagus. Our experienced team offers your child all the care they need – in one place, during one appointment.
We are a team of pediatric gastrointestinal, allergy, nutrition and psychology specialists who work together to treat your child for EoE. We tap into our varied expertise to provide care for every aspect of your child’s health.
Pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis is a rare disorder in which the esophagus (“food tube” connecting the mouth to the stomach) becomes swollen (inflamed). The inflammation can damage the esophagus, which can lead to scarring and narrowing over time.
Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that defend the body against allergic reactions to substances such as certain foods, like peanuts and dairy, as well as parasites or pollen. However, too many eosinophils can cause inflammation (swelling) inside the body.
In EoE, eosinophils gather in the lining of the esophagus in reaction to allergens or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), causing inflammation. EoE can make swallowing difficult, which can affect your child’s ability to eat, drink and swallow medications.
Our pediatric gastroenterologists (specialists in digestive disorders) evaluate children with symptoms of EoE to rule out other conditions and confirm a diagnosis. Our team begins by performing a complete physical exam of your child. We also ask you about your child’s personal and family medical history.
The main test we use to diagnose EoE is an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy . During this test, your child’s doctor puts a scope (thin tube with a light and camera) down your child’s throat. Your child will receive anesthesia for their comfort before the endoscopy begins. The doctor uses the scope to take images and tissue samples (biopsies) of your child’s esophagus and, in some cases, of their stomach and small intestine.
Our doctors may diagnose EOE if:
Our team may also perform an allergy test, where we inject a very small amount of various allergens into your child’s back or arm to see if they have a reaction. This test helps us identify what may be triggering your child’s EoE.
The causes of EoE aren’t fully known, but scientists believe that the condition develops as a reaction to certain allergens. Foods most often trigger EoE inflammation, but pollen may also trigger it. Males are more likely to experience EoE than females. Certain genes may also play a role.
EoE is a type of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorder (EGID) and is closely related to other EGIDs, including:
EGIDs are often associated with other conditions, such as:
The pediatric specialists at the Dallas Eosinophilic GI Diseases and Esophagitis Program (DEEP) at Children’s Health are experts in caring for children who have digestive disorders. We tailor our approach using child-friendly language, equipment and amenities to help children feel comfortable and at ease.
When we see your child for the initial visit, you can expect us to thoroughly review medical records, including previous surgeries, endoscopies, blood tests and allergy testing. We will engage our entire team in developing a treatment plan.
At DEEP, our treatment options for eosinophilic esophagitis include:
Although the causes of EoE aren’t fully known, some risk factors for the condition include:
Yes, EoE is a chronic (long-term) disease. Medication and certain dietary changes can control your child’s symptoms.
There is no risk of cancer from EoE, but it’s important to get treatment for EoE. If left untreated, EoE may lead to narrowing of the esophagus and further damage, such as tears or perforations (holes).