Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • EG
  • EGID
  • EGE
  • eosinophilic gastroenteropathy
  • eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders
  • eosinophilic gastritis

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is a rare digestive disease characterized by the triad of eosinophilic infiltration of segments of the gastrointestinal tract, abnormalities of gastrointestinal function (varying from dyspepsia and obstruction to diarrhea and ascites) and exclusion of other diseases with peripheral eosinophilia.


Eosinophilic gastroenteritis may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum. Symptoms include dysphagia (sometimes presenting as food impaction), heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloating (ascites is possible). The eosinophilic infiltration may involve one or more layers of the gastrointestinal wall. The particular symptoms present in each case depend upon the layer and the location of involvement. Most commonly, the stomach wall and the small bowel are involved. Mucosal involvement leads to protein-losing enteropathy and malabsorption. Muscle layer involvement causes abdominal pain, vomiting, dyspeptic symptoms and bowel obstruction. Subserosal involvement predominantly causes ascites with marked eosinophilia. Sometimes eosinophilic pleural effusion is present.


The exact cause of eosinophilic gastroenteritis is unknown. Some cases of this disease may be caused by a hypersensitivity to certain foods or other unknown allergens. Often, a family history of allergy is present.

Affected Populations

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is a rare disease (1/100.000) that affects both males and females, but is slightly more common among men. Peak prevalence is in children and adults (20-50 years). The reported prevalence has increased markedly, especially of eosinophilic esophagitis (2-6/100.000). This is probably due to prior under-diagnosis. People with a history of allergies, eczema, and seasonal asthma are more likely to develop this disease.

Standard Therapies


A careful history may suggest to the physician that a biopsy is required. The results of the biopsy are usually diagnostic.


The corticosteroid drug prednisone is usually an effective treatment for eosinophilic gastroenteritis. Topical steroids can be helpful in eosinophilic esophagitis. Eliminating foods to which a person is allergic may prove helpful in some cases. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases in which there is an obstruction of the intestines. Other treatment is symptomatic and supportive.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. Government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010

Email: prpl@cc.nih.gov

For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the NIH is conducting a clinical research study involving people with eosinophilic gastroenteritis. The study seeks to investigate omalizumab as a possible treatment for people with this disorder. For information, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office listed above.



Tan A. Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. In: NORD Guide to Rare Disorders. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003:342.

Yamada T, Alpers DH, Owyang C, et al., eds. Textbook of Gastroenterology. 2nd ed. Philadephia, PA : J. B. Lippincott Company; 1995:2464-65.


Lucendo AJ. Eosinophilic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Scand J Gastroenterology. 2010;45:1013-21.

Bischoff SC. Food allergy and eosinophilic gastroenteritis and colitis. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;10:238-45.

Yan BM. Shaffer EA. Primary eosinophilic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Gut. 2009;58:721-32.

Gonsalves N, Kahrilas PJ. Eosinophilic oesophagitis in adults. Neurogastroenterol Motility. 2009;21:1017-26.

Mueller S. Classification of eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology. 2008;22:425-440.

Oh HE, Chetty R. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis: a review. J Gastroenterology. 2008;43:741-50.


Nguyen MN T, Szpakowski J-L. Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. Emedicine. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/174100-overview. Updated January 4, 2012. Accessed March 7, 2012.


Digestive Disease National Coalition

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NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases

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Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

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Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Madisons Foundation

PO Box 241956

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tel: (310)264-0826

Fax: (310)264-4766

Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease (CURED)

PO Box 32

Lincolnshire, IL 60069

Tel: (847)361-3292

Email: ellyn@curedfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.curedfoundation.org

Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

3333 Burnet Avenue

MLC 2010

Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039

Tel: (513)636-2233

Fax: (513)636-9069

Tel: (800)344-2462

TDD: (513)636-4900

Email: cced@cchmc.org

Internet: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/eosinophils

American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders

PO Box 29545

Atlanta, GA 30359

Tel: (713)493-7749

Fax: (713)493-7749

Internet: http://www.apfed.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into myCigna.com. For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html.