Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis OverviewEosinophilic Gastroenteritis is a very uncommon disease that affects the intestinal wall and other areas. This disease can easily be mistaken for a peptic ulcer, intestinal obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroenteritis, or as an inflammatory bowel disease. The patient may have acquired the disease years ago and have been misdiagnosed, not intentionally but due to the mimicking behavior. Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is known to affect adults and children without prejudice to gender. Personal history with digestive problems and food allergies are key identifiers to a proper diagnosis of the EG disease. This disease may hit on the mucus level, muscular level and membrane levels that secrete certain fluids for bodily functions. Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis infiltrates the intestinal wall with excess levels of Eosinophils. At times, it may affect the blood vessels within the organs. The most commonly affected areas are the stomach, small intestine and colon but other areas may have traces of Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. Some possible symptoms include nausea, vomiting, poor growth, poor weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, chest pain, blood in the stool and many other variable signs. The symptoms will vary according to age, gender, personal history and treatment.
Causes / Afflicted AreasSome possible causes to Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis include environmental and genetic factors (food allergies). The possible environmental factors that may cause the disease could include the possibilities of airborne allergies during the normal yearly cycle. Examples include pollen from trees, grass, plants and weeds may be an environmental cause to Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. Local factory smoke or irritants that are airborne or water borne irritants may trigger other environmental causes. Certain chemicals or the burning of coal may trigger a reaction in some patients. Environmental allergies are not always inherited by the offspring. These types of allergies will vary from person to person. The adult or child may inherit genetic traits that may cause Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. Such factors are divided into two categories, the allergy or medical history. Food allergies are the most common concern with the Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis disease. The person may have inherited abdominal pain or constant heartburn from their family members. Other chronic conditions are usually involved with the bowels or stomach region that may be related to ulcers, cancers or a DNA defect that medication usually corrects. Food allergies such as shellfish, milk products, soy, eggs, peanuts, wheat or fish may cause severe reactions on the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system. The general areas affected by the Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis include the stomach, lower intestine, colon, respiratory system and the esophagus. Some people may experience the Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis in one region and not in others. These areas are usually affected by food allergies or an inherited condition such as asthma. The mucus level, muscular level and membrane levels of the EG will vary from patient to patient. Some patients may only have one level affected by the EG, while others may have two or more levels affected. At the time of this writing, the general cause of the disease is unknown.
SymptomsEosinophilic Gastroenteritis may show symptoms in one or more of the gastrointestinal tract. The mucus region may have signs of vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss in the stool, anemia, protein loss and abdominal pain. Each person will show different symptoms in this region. The muscular region may show signs of a gastric outlet syndrome or mimicking signs of the irritable bowel syndrome. The membrane region has symptoms of higher eosinophil counts, bloating and swelling of the stomach. Some symptoms will not be present in all of the aforementioned areas but additional symptoms may be persistent. They include a false or realistic sensation of stuck food, heartburn, loss of appetite and obstruction of the bowel. These are general symptoms found in a full range of patients concerning age, gender and medical history. Some patients have experienced some of these conditions for years. Some symptoms experienced are mild and infrequent, while others are constant and painful. Healthy adults have experienced most of these symptoms at least once in their lifetime.
DiagnosisAt the time of this composition, the only effective method for a diagnosis of the Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is through an endoscopy with biopsy. A gastroenterologist usually performs either an upper or a lower endoscopy; they will examine the stomach, esophagus and some of the small intestine. The gastroenterologist may perform a lower endoscopy to examine the GI tract thoroughly; they will take several samples for the pathologist to examine. The pathologist will look for the location of the eosinophils, changes to the tissue layers, and spillage of the eosinophils. The findings and symptoms will be examined to determine if Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is present in the body. If Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is confirmed, a skin prick test may be ordered to test for food allergies. Other tests for food allergies may include patch testing or the RAST test (Radioallergosorbent test). The doctors will use the results of these tests to determine a course of treatment for the disease. Other testing may be performed prior to the endoscopy examination, which may include examination of the stool, Serum IgE and blood work.
TreatmentThe treatment of Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis will depend on rather if the aliment was caused by an obstruction, allergy or lack of a hormone. The doctor may prescribe a change in the diet that may eliminate the food allergy or a substitution that may have boosted the levels of the Eosinophils. Some people may not benefit from food avoidance or they are not allergic to any particular form of food. Other treatments may include oral medication that may include steroids, anti-inflammatory medication or suppressants. Surgery is alternative method to relieve pain from persistent obstruction of the bowel. Most people will respond well to steroids or anti-inflammatory medication as a treatment. A combination of a diet and medication may offer better terms than surgery but surgery should be only as a last resort. Steroids offer side effects such as acne, higher risk of infections, mood changes and osteoporosis. There is a chance of recurring symptoms, even with a successful treatment. Maintain a healthy lifestyle Even after a successful treatment, the patient needs to remain active in their life. They should observe all restrictions and recommendations by their doctor. The proper mixture of a well-balanced diet and exercise will help ensure the longevity of a healthier GI tract. Every six months the family member or adult should visit their doctor for a checkup. These regular checkups will help determine if there are any lingering problems or new developments. If there are new problems, the doctor may adjust the medication and therapy levels to help combat the aliment. Providing there are no additional problems, the checkup may decrease the use of medication or an adjustment on the frequency of the anti-inflammatory or steroids. The amount of exercise may be increased or decreased depending on the level of pain or conditions that are persistent. The health provider may offer natural alternatives that may be beneficial to traditional medication. The health professional will have more information in terms of available medicines and experimental treatments on the market. It is recommended to seek help from the emergency room if problems arise from the treatment or if there is persistent pain.
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