What are eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs)?

Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs) include several complex and chronic diseases characterized by higher than normal amounts of a type of white blood cell — eosinophils — in organs that make up the digestive system.

Eosinophils produce proteins that cause inflammation. This inflammation damages the digestive system lining and can trigger signs and symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, pain, difficulty swallowing and inadequate nutrition (malnutrition).

Several types of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders exist, each affecting different organs in the digestive system.

Types of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders

  • Eosinophilic esophagitis is caused by abnormal amounts of eosinophils in the esophagus. It's the most common and understood eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorder. It also affects the largest number of people, who range widely in terms of age and area in which they live.
  • Eosinophilic gastritis is caused by a very high number of eosinophils in the stomach. This disease is very rare.
  • Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is caused by abnormal numbers of eosinophils in the stomach and small intestine. It may occur together with other types of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Eosinophilic colitis is caused by higher than normal amounts of eosinophils in the large intestine.
June 17, 2014 See more In-depth