Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is a rare disease in children and adults characterized by food-related reactions, infiltration of certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in the GI tract, and an increase in the number of eosinophils in the blood. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and occasionally diarrhea. The diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test showing a high eosinophil count, and a diagnostic intestinal biopsy that shows a large number of eosinophils in the stomach and/or small intestine.
This disorder can be distinguished from food allergy by the lack of a specific offending food and the lack of a response to an elimination diet. Most cases require steroid medication (commonly prednisone) to induce remission. (Steroids are not effective in treating food allergies.)
Eosinophilic gastroenteritis, eosinophilic esophagitis (which occurs in the esophagus), and eosinophilic colitis (which occurs in the colon) make up a group of disorders called eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. Various symptoms may occur depending upon the portion of the GI system affected.
- More information can be found at the nonprofit American Partnership For Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) website.