What Is Eosinophilic Esophagitis?

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic immune disorder in which a build-up of white blood cells causes inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, the muscular tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. The cell build-up can be caused by an allergic reaction or chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

The inflammation can cause the esophagus to malfunction, so food is not moved readily to the stomach. Over time, this can lead to an esophageal stricture (narrowing), a build-up of fibrous tissue, tearing of the esophagus and abscesses.

Eosinophilic esophagitis can happen at any age, and it is most common in Caucasian men. Other risk factors include atopic dermatitis (chronic skin inflammation), asthma, and food and environmental allergies. Eosinophilic esophagitis tends to run in families.