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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Allergic esophagitis is a condition that causes your esophagus to swell and narrow when your body reacts to allergens. The esophagus is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. An allergen is anything you are allergic to, such as certain foods, dust, or pollen.
Allergic esophagitis may not go away completely. Treatment may help relieve your symptoms.
- Steroid medicine: You may take steroid medicine to decrease swelling in your esophagus.
- Stomach medicine: You may take stomach acid medicines to keep heartburn symptoms under control.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are taking any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
You or your child may need to change what you eat to relieve your symptoms. You may need to see a dietician to help you or your child get the right amount of nutrients.
- Elimination diet: You or your child may need to stop eating certain foods for a while to see if your symptoms improve. Start eating these foods again one at a time as directed. If certain foods cause your symptoms, you or your child should not eat them. Some common examples are dairy, nuts, eggs, and seafood.
- Liquid formula: Babies or young children with allergic esophagitis may drink a special liquid formula instead of eating food. The formula has all of the nutrients your child needs to grow and develop. He may need to drink this formula until his symptoms improve. Ask where to buy this formula.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Your healthcare provider may refer you to a stomach specialist, allergist, or dietician. Your child's height and weight must be checked every 6 months. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your follow-up visits.
- The medicines used to treat allergic esophagitis may cause thrush (an infection inside the mouth) or other infections. Over time the esophagus may narrow and thicken. Food may get stuck in the esophagus. Treatment to remove the food can lead to life-threatening bleeding, holes, or tears in your esophagus.
- Without treatment, you or your child may not get the nutrients you need. Your baby or toddler may not grow and develop as he should. You or your child may lose weight.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You or your child has a fever.
- You or your child has white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth.
- You or your child loses weight without trying.
- It is hard to swallow or it hurts to swallow, even after treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your or your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Food is stuck in your or your child's throat.
- You or your child has bad chest pain.
- You or your child vomits blood.
- Bowel movements are black and sticky. You or your child may feel weak or dizzy.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.