Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE)

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is an inflammatory disease of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.

With EE, there are a large number of white blood cells called eosinophils in the esophagus.

EE is caused by food allergies, and possibly airborne allergens.

Symptoms typically resemble reflux disease but do not get better with anti-reflux medications. They may include:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Food getting stuck in the esophagus

Young children may also have slow or poor growth. 

Your child’s doctor may do some tests to find out if there are eosinophils in the esophagus. These tests include:

  • Endoscopy (using an instrument called an endoscope to look inside the esophagus)
  • Biopsy (a sample of tissue from the esophagus is removed and tested)  

The following treatments are available for children with EE:

  • Change or restriction in diet
    • Directed elimination – allergy testing to determine which foods to eliminate
    • Undirected elimination (empiric) – removes top common food allergens regardless of allergy testing, referred to as a 6FED
  • Elemental diet – amino acid-based formula that supplies the child’s caloric and nutritional needs

A dietitian will help make sure your child is getting the proper nutrition.

  • Prescription medications
    • Swallowed steroids – most common ones being fluticasone (Flovent) or budesonide (Pulmicort)
  • Investigational medications
    • These medications help reduce the number of eosinophils in the esophagus.
    • Clinical studies / trials to study how these medications can help children with EE are ongoing at our hospital
    • Learn more about clinical trials
    • Learn more about ongoing research

Last Updated 07/2014