Boy (11) must undergo surgery every three months to find the cause of rare disease
An 11-year-old boy suffering from a rare and incurable disease has to have four operations a year.
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images

An 11-year-old boy suffering from a rare and incurable disease has to have four operations a year so doctors can determine which foods cause his severe allergic reactions.

Caleb Hoshaw from Kansas in the US was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis in December 2016 after he’d been vomiting constantly.

The fifth-grader’s vomiting was initially diagnosed as acid reflux, but it turned out to be due to severe inflammation in his esophagus, the Daily Mail reports.

His family describes it as a disease that eats away at his esophagus, according to

The problem is that doctors aren’t sure which of the foods Caled consumes cause the problem.  

However, they discovered the foods he’s been eating his whole life were causing a build-up of acid that destroyed parts of his esophagus and the nerves in his throat, making him unable to feel when he chokes on something.

The only solution doctors could come up with is a “process of elimination”.

Caleb has to eat food from only one food group at a time for nine to 12 weeks until doctors have determined which of the eight groups is making him sick.

At the end of each three-month period doctors have to biopsy his esophagus, stomach and small intestines to see if the most recent food group had damaged them.

This process could take more than two years.

Caleb’s mother, Linda Hoshaw, told Daily Mail her son had showed signs of his condition from infancy when he couldn’t tolerate any formula milk.

He was diagnosed with acid reflux and has been on medication to control it his whole life.

Caleb experienced episodes of vomiting which Linda attributed to the acid reflux, but she took him to a specialist in 2016 when the vomiting became more frequent and Caleb complained about food feeling stuck in his chest.

The disorder affects one to four in 10 000 people in the United States, Daily Mail reports.

There is currently no cure for this condition, only treatment to find out which foods trigger it.

Once doctors have determined which foods trigger Caleb’s condition he’ll have to stay away from them for the rest of his life.

So far he’s not allowed to eat food containing milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. He’s passed the wheat test.

The diagnosis has seen a lifestyle change for Caleb and his family. Linda says birthdays, school lunches and family holidays such as Thanksgiving are difficult for her son.

Sources: Daily Mail,,

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