What is eosinophilic gastritis?
Eosinophilic gastritis is a rare disease in which a type of white blood cell, the eosinophil, accumulates in the stomach and causes injury and inflammation to the stomach. Common symptoms include:
- Vomiting, nausea
- Difficulty feeding and/or gaining weight
- Poor growth
- Abdominal pain
- Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
Who gets eosinophilic gastritis?
Eosinophilic gastritis can affect both adults and children.
People with eosinophilic gastritis commonly have other allergic disorders, and there may be some genetic tendency to develop the disease.
What causes eosinophilic gastritis?
In many cases, it is not known what causes eosinophilic gastritis. Food and/or environmental allergies may play a role in the development of this disease.
How is eosinophilic gastritis diagnosed?
An endoscopy with biopsies is the only definitive way to diagnose eosinophilic gastritis. A doctor will perform an upper endoscopy where a small tube is directed through the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small intestine. Small tissue samples will be taken from each section of the upper GI tract.
A pathologist will review these biopsies to help determine if there are higher-than-normal levels of eosinophils present. Currently, there is no consensus on how many eosinophils in the stomach are considered to be “too high”. This can sometimes make diagnosis difficult. A doctor will use symptoms, clinical circumstances, and visual evidence noted during the endoscopy and the pathology report to arrive at a diagnosis.
What is the treatment for eosinophilic gastritis?
Eosinophilic gastritis is often treated by dietary management or steroids. Dietary management may include elimination diets, in which suspected foods or common food allergens are removed, and elemental diets in which all food protein is removed and nutrition is provided through specialized formula. Iron supplements may also be prescribed.
In order to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment, periodic endoscopies with biopsies will be necessary.