Celiac disease increases risk of eosinophilic esophagitis

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study reveals that celiac disease increases the risk of inflammation of the esophagus and eosinophilic esophagitis. Prior research has produced contradictory results, so researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine addressed the issue with a new study. Patients who have celiac disease may want to consult with their doctors about getting esophageal biopsies.


The link between celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis has been studied in the past. However, a new research paper indicates that patients who have celiac disease are at a higher risk of having eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). The study, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, reveals that 292,621 patients were included, and 88,517 patients had esophageal and duodenal biopsies. Researchers found that 4.6 percent of the patients had eosinophilic esophagitis and celiac disease. Their results show that patients with celiac disease were 26 percent more likely to have eosinophilic esophagitis compared to a control group.


Eosinophilic esophagitis is often abbreviated as EoE and is defined as inflammation of the esophagus. It is considered to be a chronic inflammatory disorder and is often referred to as a swallowing disorder. Eosinophils, which are white blood cells, collect in the esophagus and cause the problems. The most common symptoms of EoE are difficulty swallowing, nausea, malnutrition, reflux, chest pain, heartburn, abdominal pain and regurgitation. Previous research shows that eosinophilic esophagitis is often seen in patients who have allergies and autoimmune diseases.

An esophageal biopsy and upper endoscopy may be necessary to diagnose the disease, and patients who have celiac disease and notice EoE symptoms may want to consult with their doctors. Treatment can vary but usually includes dietary changes and medications. Your doctor may recommend elimination diets and allergy testing in addition to reducing heartburn-causing foods. The most common medications for eosinophilic esophagitis include steroids, proton pump inhibitors and histamine-2 (H2) blockers.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years