If you think you have eosinophilic esophagitis, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Your doctor may recommend you see a specialist in treating digestive diseases (gastroenterologist) or an allergist.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Bring test results. If you are seeing a new specialist after you've had an endoscopy from another doctor, bring the results with you.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For eosinophilic esophagitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Do I need an endoscopy?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will it cost?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for me?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Should I schedule a follow-up visit?
In addition to the questions you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover points you want to address.
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice them?
- Have they been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms wake you up at night?
- Are your symptoms worse after meals or after lying down?
- Do you have difficulty swallowing?
- Have you ever had food get stuck while you are swallowing?
- Does food or sour material ever come up in the back of your throat?
- Do you have chest pain or stomach pain?
- Have you had an esophageal dilation?
- Have you been treated with a topical steroid or food elimination diet?
- Have you gained or lost weight?
- Do you experience nausea or vomiting?
- Are your symptoms worse at certain times of the year?
- Do you have asthma or any chronic respiratory disease?
- Do you have any allergies to foods or to anything in the environment, such as pollen?
- Does anyone in your family have allergies?
- Have you tried taking antacid or anti-reflux medication? What was the result?
If you are a parent of a young child, the doctor may also ask if your child has trouble feeding or has been diagnosed with failure to thrive.
June 19, 2014
- Bonus PAL, et al. Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 28, 2014.
- Dellon ES, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Evidenced based approach to the diagnosis and management of esophageal eosinophilia and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:679.
- Feldman M., et al. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com.Accessed Jan. 18, 2014.
- Liacouras CA, et al. Eosinophilic esophagitis: Updated consensus recommendations for children and adults. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2011;128:3.
- Fell JME. Recognition, assessment and management of eosinophilic oesophagitis. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2013;98:702.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2014.
- Gorospe EC, et al. New diagnostic and therapeutic frontiers in eosinophilic esophagitis. Minerva gastroenterologica e dietologica. 2013;59:59.
- Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic. Hard to Swallow — EOE. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge/. Accessed March 9, 2014.
- Molina-Infante J, et al. Review article: Proton pump inhibitor therapy for suspected eosinophilic oesophagitis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2013;37:1157.
- AskMayoExpert. Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Eosinophilic esophagitis. American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/related-conditions/eosinophilic-esophagitis.aspx. Accessed Jan. 28, 2014.
- Alexander JA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March, 2014.
- Hirano I. Dilation in eosinophilic esophagitis: To do or not to do? Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 2010;71:713.
- Lucendo AJ, et al. Empiric 6-food elimination diet induced and maintained prolonged remission in patients with adult eosinophilic esophagitis: A prospective study on the food cause of the disease. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013;131:797.
- Katzka DA. The skinny on eosinophilic esophagitis. Gastroenterology. 2013;145:1186.
- Hurrell JM, et al. Prevalence of esophageal eosinophilia varies by climate zone in the United States. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107:698.
- Dellon ES. Diagnosis and management of eosinophilic esophagitis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;10:1066.
- Safe use of complementary health products and practices. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/safety. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Fass R. Alternative therapeutic approaches to chronic proton pump inhibitor. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;10:338.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 10, 2012.
- U.S. News best hospitals 2013-2014. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/gastroenterology-and-gi-surgery. Accessed March 9, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.