My husband was recently diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis. Does this mean our 2-year-old daughter is at greater risk?
Answers from Rayna Grothe, M.D.
There is a slightly higher risk of developing eosinophilic esophagitis if you have a family history of the disease, but several other risk factors also play a role. They include:
- Sex. Eosinophilic esophagitis is three times more common in males.
- Allergies. People who have asthma and allergies, including food allergies, are at significantly higher risk.
- Time of the year. The disease is more prevalent during the spring and fall due to elevated levels of pollen and other allergens in the environment.
- Geography. People living in an area with a cold or very dry climate have up to a 60 percent greater risk of developing the disease compared with those living in a place with a tropical climate.
Eosinophilic esophagitis affects people of all ages. Talk with your doctor if your infant or toddler has any of the above risk factors and is experiencing signs and symptoms such as vomiting, irritability during feeding, refusal to eat, poor weight gain, and burping accompanied by regurgitation of stomach contents into the back of the mouth or throat.
In older children, other signs and symptoms to watch out for include difficulty swallowing, pain in the upper stomach or behind the breastbone — the flat bone at the center of the chest just below the collarbone — and food becoming stuck in the esophagus.
June 17, 2014
See more Expert Answers
- Bonis PAL, et al. Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 21, 2014.
- Fell JME. Recognition, assessment, and management of eosinophilic esophagitis. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2013;98:702.
- Hurrell JM, et al. Prevalence of esophageal eosinophilia varies by climate zone in the United States. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107:698.