Patients complain of food intermittently getting stuck in the esophagus. It could last a few minutes or a few hours. Often patients have gone to the ER to get the food removed. Many patients otherwise generally swallow without difficulty and have histories of significant allergy symptoms.
Diagnosis involves a biopsy of the lower, middle and upper parts of the esophagus to look for an abundance of eosinophils.
Since eosinophilic esophagitis is probably an immune or allergy issue, patients will work with an allergist to figure out which foods they may be allergic to. In addition, they may be treated with oral or liquid steroids to decrease inflammation or with another immunomodulating medication.
Prognosis is quite good. Patients generally respond in six to eight weeks and have no problem eating solid foods. However, very often, symptoms will return and chronic therapy - such as dietary restrictions or intermittent steroid use - may be necessary. In some cases the esophagus may scar and become narrow. These cases may require dilation to restore the normal size of the esophagus.