Eosinophilic gastritis (EG) is a buildup of white blood cells called eosinophils. It can lead to long term inflammation of the stomach. EG can make it hard for the body to get enough nutrients from food.
EG may occur in cycles. Symptom may fade or stop for a time, then they may flare up again.
Eosinophils are part of the immune system. They should only respond to an infection or injury. These cells release a chemical that causes inflammation. With EG, the inflammation starts or continues even though it is not needed. Over time this can lead to tissue damage, ulcers, and polyps in the colon.
It is not clear what causes EG. It is likely due to a blend of gene defects and the environment. It may also be linked to an allergic reaction.
Factors that may increase your child’s chances of EG include:
Symptoms may include:
Complications may include:
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. EG is hard to diagnose with simple tests. Some tests may be able to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Tests to rule out other conditions include:
A biopsy is the only way to confirm EG. A sample of the stomach will be removed. It will be sent to a lab to look for eosinophils. This will be done through an endoscopy.
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Treatment will focus on slowing or stopping inflammation and tissue damage. Treatment options may include:
Certain foods may cause symptoms. They will need to be avoided. Milk and soy are often problems for infants.
Proteins, such as soy, nuts, eggs, or milk are also common allergens. A dietitian can help with meal planning.
Other diet changes may include:
Medicine may help to manage EG. These may include:
Medications are also used to treat complications. These may include:
Medicine to manage allergies or asthma may also be needed.
There are no current steps to prevent EG because the cause is not clear.
American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Sick Kids—The Hospital for Sick Children
Eosinophilic gastritis. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) website. Available at: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/eosinophilic-gastroenteritis/. Updated: 2018. Accessed January 11, 2019.
Eosinophilic gastritis. American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders website. Available at: http://apfed.org/about-ead/egids/eg. Accessed January 11, 2019.
Fahey LM, Liacouras CA. Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2017 Jun;64(3):475-485.
Zhang M, Li Y. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis: A state-of-the-art review. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Jan;32(1):64-72.
Last reviewed August 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 1/8/2019