5 Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Medically Reviewed By Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C

Lifestyle changes such as tracking potential food allergies, seeking help from loved ones, and reducing stress can help you manage symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis.

gettyimages-1283028753-1024x683.jpg

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the esophagus, often caused by food aversions.

If you have EoE, you may experience food getting stuck in the esophagus, allergic reactions, and general discomfort when eating — these symptoms can affect the way you navigate social settings.

But learning more about EoE can be the first step to making changes that improve your quality of life. The following suggestions can be a starting point for your next doctor’s appointment.

1. Modify your diet and be mindful of how you’re eating

A 2021 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source suggests one of the first lifestyle changes for EoE typically involves identifying and eliminating food allergens.

Keeping a food diary can be helpful to identify specific items that worsen symptoms. Common food allergens can include dairy, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.

The study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source also suggests that eating slowly, mindfully, and drinking lots of fluid while eating can significantly reduce the likelihood of food getting stuck in the esophagus.

Consider avoiding distractions while eating, chew food thoroughly, and take your time during meals.

These simple strategies can improve digestion and help identify signs of discomfort. Talk with a doctor about medications to help you manage food allergy symptoms.

You can also work with a registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan. Using online recipe books and free nutrition app diaries may be helpful and affordable to make dietary changes.

2. Be aware of other medical conditions

EoE often shares a link to other autoimmune conditions, such as allergic asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Experts only recognized GERD and EoE as separate conditions in the 1990s Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source .

If you think you may have GERD symptoms, consider asking your doctor for more testing to confirm a diagnosis.

Managing symptoms early is important as GERD can play a part in the development of EoE. EoE can also contribute to the development of GERD.

3. Communicate openly with loved ones

Take the time to educate those close to you about EoE and its dietary implications. The more awareness there is, the more confident you may feel about making lifestyle changes.

Don’t be afraid to communicate your dietary restrictions and allergies to friends and family, especially if you often take part in social outings with them.

Directly communicating your needs may make it easier for you and your loved ones to enjoy outings together.

Your health and well-being are the priority when living with EoE. If someone invited you to a social gathering with new friends, take the time to consider your options and what makes you feel at ease.

You can ask about dietary options or offer to bring a dish — in both cases, it can be an opportunity to start a conversation around EoE.

4. Join a support group

Connecting with other people who have EoE can provide valuable insights and emotional support.

You can talk with people who understand your needs and can give advice from lived experiences on how they navigate living with EoE symptoms. Some EoE-specific support groups include:

You can also ask your doctor or insurance company for local EoE support groups.

5. Be mindful of your mental health

A 2019 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source suggests that people living with EoE have a higher chance of developing anxiety and depression. Consider regularly checking in with your doctor to understand the connection between EoE and your mental health. Talking with a mental health professional can be part of your EoE treatment plan. 

You can consider engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises which may be helpful tools Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source to lower the overall risk of anxiety and depression.

Next steps

If you’re living with EoE, you can work with your doctor to explore lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life.

Understanding EoE and how it’s connected to your physical and mental well-being can help you navigate social gatherings, openly communicate with your loved ones, and embrace new experiences with confidence.

Was this helpful?
2
  1. Eosinophilic esophagitis. (2022). https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/eosinophilic-esophagitis/ 
  2. Kinser PA, et al. (2013). How might yoga help depression? A neurobiological perspective. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3293477/
  3. Kuźmiński A, et al. (2021). Eosinophilic esophagitis. What diet? How to treat it? The point of view of a gastroenterologist working in a department of allergology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8690950/
  4. Spechler SJ. (2019). Gastroesophageal reflux disease and eosinophilic esophagitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6469260/
  5. Taft TH, et al. (2019). Anxiety and depression in eosinophilic esophagitis: A scoping review and recommendations for future research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6910091/

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C
Last Review Date: 2023 Sep 29
View All Allergies Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.