Common Symptoms of Eosinophilic EsophagitisEosinophilic Esophagitis is a disease that directly affects the esophagus. While this is still considered to be a rare disease, the awareness of it has increased, therefore it is more recognizable by patients and physicians alike. Now that Eosinophilic Esophagitis is more widespread, it is not as misdiagnosed as it once was, and those who have it are treated immediately. Although this disease has become a lot easier to detect, there are some people who do not show any symptoms at all. These people are usually diagnosed after going through an endoscopy and biopsy for reasons other than Eosinophilic Esophagitis. For those who do show Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms, they can vary depending on the age of the person. This disease can crop up in people at any age, therefore it is important to recognize the symptoms specific to infants, toddlers, small children, older children teens, and adults.
Symptoms in InfantsUnfortunately, detecting whether or not an infant has Eosinophilic Esophagitis can be extremely difficult because they cannot describe how they are feeling, and their symptoms are highly similar to those of acid reflux disease. One of the most common Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms in infants is recurrent vomiting. However, this is also a symptom related to acid reflux disease, and since acid reflux is more common amongst infants, it is typically the first diagnosis physicians lean toward. The best way to determine whether or not an infant is showing Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms or acid reflux symptoms is if they do not react to the anti-reflux medications. Other Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms that can show in infants include the unwillingness to eat, delayed weight gain, weight loss, and chronic cough. There are other more common causes for weight issues and refusal to feed for infants, so if they are having these symptoms, it may very well be from something other than Eosinophilic Esophagitis.
Symptoms in Toddlers and Small ChildrenOne of the main differences in Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms in infants and small children is the fact that they can describe how they are feeling in more detail, as they get older. Vomiting and poor weight gain are symptoms that are common amongst toddlers and small children as well as infants, but there are other symptoms the older children may have that they can explain to their parent. Other Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms that are common in toddlers and small children include difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and pain with swallowing (odynophagia). While these are symptoms in very small children who usually have very limited vocabularies, they can do their best to describe what they may be feeling, and their doctor can decipher whether or not they are experiencing Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms.
Symptoms in AdolescentsThe symptoms of this disease in older children and teenagers include vomiting (sometimes associated with eating and nausea), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), painful swallowing (odynophagia), and abdominal pain. Other Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms that may occur are heartburn, chest pain, coughing, and epigastric (upper abdominal) pain, which do not go away with anti-reflux therapy. When these children and teens have problems swallowing, it is often related to the fact that a small food particle is moving down their esophagus very slowly. Typically, they drink liquids to help the food go down and ease their discomfort, but unfortunately the child often has to vomit up the food in order for it to truly stop. Sometimes, food actually becomes lodged in the esophagus; this is called food impaction, and if it happens a physician is required to remove the food bolus.
Symptoms in AdultsAdult Eosinophilic Esophagitis symptoms are typically the same as those for older children and teenagers. The difference with adults however is that they are more prone to food impaction. When food becomes lodged in an adult’s esophagus, a surgeon or gastroenterologist must often remove it; they must extract the bolus endoscopically. In fact, many adults become diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis after the first time they had to have bolus removed by a physician. If the doctor has taken esophageal biopsies on the adult, they can tell whether or not substantial eosinophilic inflammation is present.
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