Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) in Children

  • Not all allergic reactions are immediately noticeable. Most people have heard of allergies that require emergency treatment, but many allergic reactions come on slowly, with subtle symptoms. Eosinophilic (ee-oh-sin-oh-fill-ic) esophagitis is one of these reactions.

    Eosinophilic esophagitis (or “EE,” and also known as “EoE”) is an allergic reaction that causes inflammation and damage to the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects mouth to stomach.

    EE may affect your child’s ability to eat – both physically (a swollen esophagus makes it hard for food to go down) and psychologically (a child may grow to associate eating with discomfort). It’s usually caused by a food allergy.

    • A child can get diagnosed with EE at any age – even into adolescence and beyond.
    • It’s estimated that the condition affects about 1 in 10,000 children.
    • Males are more likely to be affected than females.
    • A cure has yet to be found – it’s a chronic condition that requires lifelong management.
    • EE is not a life-threatening condition, nor does it increase your child’s risk of esophageal cancer.
    • Treatment may include medications and/or dietary modification.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches EE

    The Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease (EGID) Program at Children's is a multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to caring for children and adolescents with eosinophilic esophagitis and other eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs).

    We’re the only multidisciplinary program in the Northeast that cares for children with these conditions and we’re the medical liaison for the local support group, EGID Boston. EGID Boston meetings are held here at Children’s, at our Waltham branch.

    Our program provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for infants, children and adolescents with suspected or diagnosed EGIDs, including:

    • eosinophilic esophagitis
    • eosinophilic gastritis
    • eosinophilic gastroenteritis

    The program is staffed by an experienced team of clinicians, all with specialized training in the care of children with these complex chronic conditions. Our staff includes:

    • gastroenterologists
    • allergists
    • registered dieticians
    • a clinical social worker
    • nurse practitioner to coordinate with parents

    Eosinophilic esophagitis: Reviewed by Elizabeth Hait, MD, MPH, and John Jhe-Yun Lee, MD © Children’s Hospital Boston, 2011

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