What is eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

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About eosinophilic gastroenteritis

This condition involves an abnormality in how the immune system works in the intestinal tract, specifically with a type of immune cells called eosinophils. Children with this condition develop allergies or an abnormal reaction to foods, which leads to inflammation in the GI tract and diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and weight loss.

What causes eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

Doctors aren’t yet sure what causes the immune dysregulation related to this condition.

How often does eosinophilic gastroenteritis occur?

This is a very rare disorder. Although the exact prevalence is not known, eosinophilic gastroenteritis is less common than eosinophilic esophagitis, another immune disorder involving eosinophils, and eosinophilic esophagitis only affects one in 10,000 children.

How does eosinophilic gastroenteritis develop?

This condition can come on suddenly.

What are the symptoms of eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

Who is at risk of developing this condition?

Anyone can get it, but children who have a family history of allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, food allergy and eczema may be at higher risk. This condition also affects more boys than girls.

Why is eosinophilic gastroenteritis a concern?

This condition’s symptoms can impact your child’s quality of life and hinder his or her growth.

How is eosinophilic gastroenteritis diagnosed/evaluated?

If your child’s doctor suspects eosinophilic gastroenteritis based on your child’s medical history and risk factors, the doctor will use an endoscopy to examine your child’s intestinal tract and take a biopsy. A pathologist will analyze the tissue sample for evidence of eosinophilic gastroenteritis.

What is the treatment for eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

This condition can be difficult to treat. The majority of children will need steroid medications and/or diet changes. Your child’s doctor may recommend an elimination diet, which calls for eliminating potentially problematic foods (such as milk, soy, eggs, peanuts/tree nuts, wheat and seafood/fish) and then adding them back one at a time to determine which foods your child reacts to. Some children may require enteral nutrition, which can involve tube feeding.

What happens after treatment?

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis requires lifelong treatment. Your child will need to see a GI specialist periodically so that the doctor can monitor the condition and adjust treatment as necessary.

When should you contact a physician?

If your child is experiencing chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting and is starting to lose weight, talk to your pediatrician.

What is the long-term outlook for eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

This condition can flare up or go into remission at any time, but with proper treatment, your child should be able to keep his or her symptoms under control and live a mostly normal life, with some diet modifications.

How do I live with eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

Adhering to your doctor’s recommended diet is key to preventing flare-ups.

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