Problems with Reflux? It Could Be Eosinophilic Esophagitis

When Benjamin Barber was a baby, his mom knew something was wrong. He would turn away from his milk bottle, letting the liquid run down his face. He remained unenthused about food as he grew, refusing to eat and falling far behind the growth curve. When he did eat, he would often grimace and vomit.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

(Pixabay / Pexels)

Ben is one of a growing number of people with eosinophilic esophagitis (referred to as EE or EE). The condition has only recently been identified and is estimated to affect 1 in 2,000 people. For a long time, people simply passed it off as reflux, but the medical community now acknowledges it as a chronic immune system disease characterized by inflammation of the esophagus.

EE is associated with a number of symptoms:

  • Refusal to eat (leading to failure to thrive)
  • Vomiting with meals
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Food getting stuck in the throat (food impaction)

Eosinophilic esophagitis is usually the result of food allergies. Steroids and acid blockers are commonly used as a treatment for EE. However, these medications can have side effects and only bring temporary relief.

Since EE is linked to allergies, doctors look to allergy immunotherapy to bring lasting relief. With immunotherapy, patients are exposed to antigen that can help the body develop an immunity to symptom-triggering allergens. The antigen can be taken through under-the-tongue allergy drops (known as sublingual immunotherapy) which can treat for both pollen and food allergies. (Food allergies are more closely linked with EE).

If left untreated, EE sufferers may develop scar tissue in their esophagus that could make swallowing difficult. Young children with EE may refuse food, fail to gain appropriate amounts of weight, and miss important feeding milestones that could take extensive therapy to re-teach.

If you or someone you know would potentially benefit from eosinophilic esophagitis treatment, talk to a physician about how oral allergy drops can help.

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.