Living with Eosinophilic Colitis
Eosinophilic Colitis is one in a group of diseases in which there are too many of a particular type of white blood cells (called eosinophils) in the digestive tract. The group of diseases, known as Eosinophil-associated Gastrointestinal Disorders, or EGID, can occur anywhere within the digestive tract. Eosinophilic Colitis refers to the area in the large intestine.
It is important to note that just because there are a higher than usual number of white blood cells in the large intestine does not necessarily mean that you have Eosinophilic Colitis. Other diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can produce the same results.
The symptoms, and the intensity of those symptoms, can vary widely from person to person. Some of the commons symptoms of Eosinophilic Colitis include nausea, diarrhea, blood in the feces, chest pain, gastro paresis and many others.
A diagnosis for Eosinophilic Colitis cannot be made other than by performing a biopsy on tissue collected during an endoscopy. Once the diagnosis has been made, you may be asked to change your diet or to perform tests to see if a food allergy is to blame for the problem.
There is no cure for Eosinophilic Colitis, so the best that a patient can do is try to manage the symptoms. While this can be difficult at times, especially at special events where food is the centerpiece of the activity, it is necessary in order to keep the symptoms under control.
There are no available medications that can prevent the symptoms, instead any suggested medicine would be to treat or lessen the severity of the symptoms.
While adults can manage their own food intake, for children it can be more difficult to monitor what they eat. However, it is important to eliminate problem foods in order to prevent the Eosinophilic Colitis from making the child suffer needlessly.
Talk to the Teachers
It is important that teachers and other caregivers are well aware of the child’s diagnosis of Eosinophilic Colitis. They must be made aware of what foods are off-limits. For children with very severe symptoms, it is especially important that the teachers and caregivers understand the consequences of allowing the child to eat any of the forbidden foods.
If possible, plan ahead so that you will be able to provide your child with an alternative to a food he may be unable to eat. For example, if he cannot have flour, you could send along some flourless cookies for him to enjoy while the other kids at the party eat cake.
It’s also a good idea to leave some acceptable treats with the teacher just in case someone brings in snacks to share that your child with Eosinophilic Colitis cannot have.
Because there is no cure for Eosinophilic Colitis, it is important that a child with the disease learn as soon as possible to manage his own care. He must learn the importance of avoiding certain foods and of taking any prescribed medications.
While Eosinophilic Colitis does force patients to make some changes, there is no reason that they cannot live a long and healthy life.