Barrett's esophagus is caused when the cells in your esophagus (food pipe) change and become like the cells found in your stomach lining. These new, abnormal cells damage your esophageal tissue lining and can lead to esophageal cancer.
You are more likely to develop Barrett’s esophagus disease if you’ve been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly referred to as chronic acid reflux.
The tissue changes taking place in your esophagus due to Barrett's esophagus don’t cause any symptoms. Rather, the signs and symptoms that you may experience are generally due to GERD, which is commonly related to Barrett’s esophagus.
Some of the typical GERD symptoms include:
- Chest pain*
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Frequent heartburn or acid reflux
*Note: Seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath or jaw or arm pain. These may be signs and symptoms of a heart attack, not GERD.
We can diagnose your Barrett’s esophagus disease through a complete physical exam and review of your health history.
Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy
Your GI doctor will use a thin, lighted tube that has a camera on one end (endoscope) to carefully examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
This test uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the lining and walls of your digestive tract. These images can help your GI doctor determine if you have Barrett’s esophagus.
We may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) of your esophagus lining for analysis in our laboratory. This can help us determine if these cells have morphed into abnormal cells, a sign of Barrett’s esophagus disease.
You should avoid alcohol and spicy, fatty, fried, or acidic foods, including chocolate, citrus fruit, caffeine, and tomato products. You should also eat smaller meals and not eat close to bedtime.
If you currently smoke, you should quit smoking. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Raise the head of your bed six inches, so you don’t lie flat.
Your GI doctor may prescribe an oral (by mouth) medication that can reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach.
In more advanced cases of Barrett’s esophagus disease, your GI doctor may need to perform surgery to remove damaged tissue or a section of your esophagus.
Your GI doctor will gently stretch and expand the opening of your esophagus to help reduce your GERD symptoms.
Why Choose UHealth?
A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Regardless of your age, condition, or whether you need long- or short-term digestive treatments, you will receive the most accurate diagnosis and most effective treatment to keep your stomach, digestive system, and organs healthy.
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