Allergy Drops help with Newly Identified Gastrointestinal Condition

Scientists only put a name on eosinophilic esophagitis in the past couple decades, but it is fast becoming a major cause of gastrointestinal illness. EE is characterized by a build-up of white blood cells (eosinophils) in the esophagus. The cells cause inflammation and can ultimately lead to damaged tissue (or the formation of scar tissue) in the digestive tract. Resulting symptoms include trouble swallowing (dysphagia), a feeling of persistent heartburn (that doesn’t respond to antacids), abdominal pain and food getting stuck when swallowing. EE often causes feeding problems in children and can result in vomiting and failure to thrive.

EE used to be lumped together with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but it is now known to be a distinct disease with different causes. EE is believed to result from allergies (primarily food allergies but also environmental allergies).

To test for EE, doctors use an endoscopy to get a better look at the digestive tract and can also perform a biopsy of the affected tissue. Treatments can include the use of medications to suppress the immune response to allergens as well as diet therapy to limit exposure to allergy-causing foods. Allergy treatment is another option and can often prove to be more lasting than other treatments because it may eliminate the need for short-term medications and also for restrictive diets that are hard to stick with.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.