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Barrett’s Esophagus

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Barrett’s Esophagus is a rare condition that affects the lower esophagus. The condition results when the cells of the lower esophagus become damaged due to chronic exposure to stomach acid. Patients suffering GERD often experience Barrett’s Esophagus. The cell lining of the esophagus becomes thickened and as a result, contributes to the increased risk of esophageal cancer. To learn more about Barrett’s Esophagus, please contact Central Florida Hepatology & Gastroenterology at 407.303.1812 or request an appointment on our website.

Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus

Patients who suffer from long-term exposure to stomach acid or have chronic acid reflux may show signs associated with Barrett’s Esophagus. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Dry cough, that is unproductive in nature
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Pain in the upper abdominal region

Causes of Barrett’s Esophagus

The primary cause of Barrett’s Esophagus is due to the thickening of the cell lining in the esophagus. There are a number of risk factors that include:

  • Chronic symptoms of GERD for ten or more years
  • Males develop the condition more than females
  • Caucasians develop the condition more than any other race
  • Barrett’s may occur in people of all ages, however it is often more prevalent in older adults

Many people with acid reflux do not develop Barrett’s, and not everyone with GERD develops the condition. The normal cells in the esophagus lining may be replaced over time. Not everyone develops the condition.

Treatment for Barrett’s Esophagus

Treatments and available medications may vary depending on the level of the condition. Tissue sampling may be required to detect the severity of the problem. Some of the most common forms of treatment include:

  • Endoscopy – Balloon or capsule endoscopy may be used to detect the severity of the condition as the intestine is safely explored and results determined by your physician. Balloon endoscopy is used for diagnosis and the determination of surgical options. Capsule endoscopy involves swallowing a capsule that includes a wireless camera. The physician is able to receive detailed imaging of the area.
  • Esophagectomy – A surgery that removes a portion of the esophagus and attaches a remaining portion to the stomach. This treatment is carried out when conservative treatments fail to provide relief.
  • Radiofrequency ablation – A procedure that eliminates the problematic cells by applying targeted radiation or radiofrequency waves to the cells. The heat that is transferred destroys the targeted tissue.

To learn more about Barrett’s Esophagus, please contact Central Florida Hepatology & Gastroenterology at 407.303.1812 or request an appointment on our website.