A growing number of children and adults suffer from a chronic and complex group of disorders described as Eosinophilic (ee-oh-sin-oh-fill-ick) Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGID). These disorders are characterized by having above normal amounts of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, in one or more specific places anywhere in the digestive system. EGID is further subdivided into organ-specific diagnosis. For example, Eosinophilic Gastritis means eosinophils infiltrating the stomach. "itis" means inflammation. While visual inflammation is not always present, inflammation may be apparent under the microscope.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE): high numbers of eosinophils occurring in the esophagus. Learn more: Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Eosinophilic Gastritis (EG): high numbers of eosinophils in the stomach.
Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis (EGE): affects the stomach and small intestine.
Eosinophilic Colitis (EC): describes the occurrence of high numbers of eosinophils in the large intestine.
Above normal amounts of eosinophils within the digestive system may or may not be enough to diagnose a person with an EGID; what the eosinophils are doing while present is equally important. Currently, without a standardization of diagnostic criteria, medical institutions use different variations of the same criteria including: inflammation, numbers and activity of eosinophils, and symptoms.
The increased numbers of eosinophils present does not always indicate EGID. Other inflammatory cells and other inflammatory changes that include eosinophils, but which are not exclusively eosinophilic, are common in other inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Return to Table of Contents
What is an Eosinophil?
Eosinophils (ee-oh-sin-oh-fillz) are a type of white blood cell (WBC). Eosinophils are the least common of the white blood cells and comprise approximately 1-4% of the blood’s cellular make-up. Named after “Eos” the Greek goddess of dawn, eosinophils are characterized by their bright red-pink color and double nucleus when stained and viewed under the microscope. Eosinophils are most commonly associated with allergic diseases and parasite infections. Learn more: What is an Eosinophil.pdf
What are the Symptoms of EGID?
Symptoms vary widely, depending on the area affected.
• Nausea or Vomiting
• Failure to thrive (poor growth or weight loss)
• Abdominal or chest pain
• Reflux that does not respond to usual therapy (which includes proton pump inhibitors,
a medicine which stops acid production)
• Dysphagia (Difficulty swallowing)
• Food impactions (food gets stuck in the throat)
• Gastroparesis (Delayed emptying of the stomach)
• Anorexia (poor appetite)
• Blood in the stool
• Difficulty sleeping
Since none of these symptoms are specific for EGID, and many occur at times in healthy children or adults, the diagnosis is generally sought only after the symptoms have failed to resolve. Eosinophilic disorders can mimic the symptoms of other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome and reflux, among others.
Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 1:52 AM on Jan. 4, 2011