What are the Symptoms of Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Does Food Get Stuck In Your Throat?

The major symptom in adults with eosinophilic esophagitis is difficulty in swallowing solid food (dysphagia). The food becomes trapped in the esophagus after it is swallowed.

Symptoms of EoE might vary from one individual to the next and also can vary based on age. Toddlers and babies refuse their meals or have difficulty growing. Children may have recurring abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, or nausea. Adults and adolescents have hard or painful swallowing. Their esophagus will narrow and cause food to become trapped (impaction), causing a medical emergency. Symptoms also may vary given the developmental capacity and communication skills of the age group.

Common Symptoms May Include:

  • Reflux that does not respond to drugs (acid suppressors)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Food impactions - food gets trapped in the esophagus
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Failure to thrive (poor growth, malnutrition, or weight loss) and bad appetite
  • Chest or abdominal discomfort
  • Feeding refusal/intolerance or poor appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping because of abdominal or chest pain, reflux, or nausea

How Does Eosinophilic Esophagitis Cause Dysphagia?

Eosinophilic esophagitis decreases the ability of the esophagus to stretch and accommodate mouthfuls of consumed food probably as a consequence of the presence of numerous eosinophils but also, perhaps as a consequence of some scarring that occurs in the wall of the esophagus. Consequently, strong foods (especially solid meats) have trouble passing through the gut. When strong food sticks in the esophagus, it creates an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, The sticking of food in the esophagus is also referred to as dysphagia. If the solid food doesn't pass into the gut, individuals often must regurgitate the food by inducing vomiting until they could resume eating. Rarely, the solid food becomes affected, that is, it can neither pass into the gut nor be regurgitated. The impacted solid food causes chest pain that could mimic a heart attack and replicated spitting up of spit that must not be consumed due to the obstruction in the esophagus. People with affected food are unable to drink or eat. To alleviate the obstruction, a doctor usually will need to insert a flexible endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus to eliminate the food that is affected.

What Are Some Other Causes of Dysphagia With Solid Food?

The most frequent causes of dysphagia for solid food are esophageal strictures and Schatzki (reduced esophageal) rings. Esophageal strictures are narrowings of the esophagus that result from acid reflux, most commonly from scarring and inflammation. Strictures usually are located in the esophagus close to the entry of the esophagus to the stomach in which the reflux is severe. Schatzki rings are thin webs of tissue of unclear cause that may narrow down the lumen (center) of the esophagus through which food passes. They are located in the thoracic.

A less common cause of dysphagia for solid food is esophageal cancer that narrows the esophageal lumen. A cause of dysphagia is disorders of the muscles of the esophagus. For example, achalasia, a disorder of the nerves and the muscles of the esophagus that prevent the muscle at the lower end of the esophagus (the lower esophageal sphincter) in relaxing and allowing swallowed food to pass into the gut. Unlike the causes of disorders, achalasia results in problems with swallowing both liquid and solid food.

EoE Symptoms Video Resources