Barrett’s is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged. This damage occurs when parts of the esophageal lining are repeatedly exposed to stomach acid, and are replaced by tissue that is similar to what is found in the intestine. Barrett’s esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer if left untreated.
The esophagus is the feeding tube that delivers food and liquids to the stomach. The stomach produces acid to aid in digestion of the food and drink we consume. Barrett’s esophagus is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by long-standing acid reflux.
Causes of Barrett’s Esophagus
Barrett’s results from damage to the esophagus caused by long-standing reflux of stomach acid, also known as GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease).
Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus
Barret’s is the disease caused by GERD. Patients with GERD may experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Sore throat or chronic cough
- Hoarse voice
- Sour taste in mouth (reflux)
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Difficulty or pain swallowing (dysphagia)
Diagnosis of Barrett’s Esophagus
Your physician will review your symptoms, medical history, and discuss your diet. Your physician may suggest an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy or upper endoscopy) and may biopsy the bottom of your esophagus, which is the location that Barrett’s esophagus develops.
Treatment for Barrett’s Esophagus
Treatment for Barrett’s esophagus will depend on the extent and severity of the Barrett’s esophagus and can include treatment with ablation therapy such as Barrx, formerly called HALO or it may require surgery. The most important aspect of treatment is to prevent further damage by stopping the acid reflux either with acid suppressing medications, Stretta surgery and/or an EGD every 1-3 years to monitor the esophagus for early sings of cancer. Let the Gastro Clinic diagnose your Barett’s disease right here in Lafayette.