Allergies are the sixth-leading cause of long-term illness in the U.S., with more than 50 million people experiencing an allergic reaction each year. You may be aware of common allergy symptoms such as trouble breathing, itching, sneezing, runny nose or congestion, hives and watery eyes, but a less frequently talked about symptom is heartburn.
Symptoms of heartburn may include:
- A burning pain in the chest after eating
- A bitter or acidic taste in the mouth
- Pain that worsens when lying down
- A feeling of acid rising in your throat
Let’s take a look at the connection between allergies and heartburn and how you can manage both.
What Type of Allergic Reaction Does Heartburn Arise From?
One theory about the cause of heartburn during allergy season is that it arises from an allergic condition known as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). With EoE, the esophagus (part of the canal that connects the throat to the stomach) becomes inflamed, does not properly contract and develops with rings or abscesses. This condition arises when the immune system makes white blood cells called eosinophils in reaction to an allergen.
EoE is usually caused by an allergic reaction to environmental or food allergens. The symptoms include heartburn, trouble swallowing, abdominal pain, vomiting and more. While EoE can occur on its own, it is a greater chance of developing if you also have atopic dermatitis, asthma or food or environmental allergies.
How Can EoE Be Managed?
An allergist or gastroenterologist can help identify the cause and triggers of EoE and its symptoms. Two treatment options for EoE include:
- Avoidance. An allergist may perform a scratch test to identify which allergens you will need to avoid. Knowing which allergens trigger your EoE will help you devise an allergen avoidance plan. For instance, if your EoE is triggered by certain foods, you may go on a special diet. If your EoE is triggered by pollen, you will want to avoid walks through Grant Park during high pollen-count days.
- Corticosteroids. Swallowing small amounts of corticosteroids may be helpful in minimizing the inflammation of the esophagus during EoE flare-ups.
- Regular doctor’s appointments. Attending regular allergist appointments will help you stay on top of your EoE and monitor it for changes so that you can ensure you are getting the best treatment possible.
Contact ENT of Georgia North today to speak to one of our specialists about managing your allergy symptoms.