What is Barrett’s Esophagus?

Across the United States and the rest of the world, eating and drinking is not just an essential daily task, but it is also a social activity that most societies revolve around.  However, this typically enjoyable and necessary action can be extremely painful if you are suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus. This condition is a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and it increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer. If you are suffering from long-term GERD, there is a possibility you may also have Barrett’s Esophagus or will develop it. The professional gastroenterologists at Gastro Care LI have the experience necessary to diagnose and treat Barrett’s Esophagus and help you manage the effects of GERD.

The esophagus is a vital organ, which allows us to take part in the essential activities of eating and drinking. This long, muscular tube transports items from the mouth to the stomach and is one of the first steps to helping your body obtain the nutrients it needs. Many people across the country suffer from gastrointestinal problems involving the esophagus, such as GERD, which can be defined by the chronic movement of stomach acid into the esophagus. When suffering from GERD long-term, you may also develop Barrett’s Esophagus. This condition causes the normal tissue of the esophagus to change into tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestines. The abnormal growth of the cells that compose the esophagus is what increases the risk of esophageal cancer. An estimated 10% of all people suffering from GERD will develop Barrett’s Esophagus.

Diagnosing Barrett’s Esophagus requires an upper-endoscopy with a biopsy of the esophageal tissue. There are no symptoms that specifically indicate that someone has developed this condition, aside from those that already accompany GERD. However, the American Gastroenterological Association recommends testing if you have several of the common risk factors, including:

  • Obesity, pregnency, or other weight issues
  • Aged over 50
  • Have a hiatal hernia
  • Have had GERD for many years
  • Are male

Once you have been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus, there are several steps your gasteroenterologist may suggest in order to slow the spread of this condition. You may be prescribed medication, asked to make certain lifestyle changes, or undergo surgical procedures. Most importantly, a gastroenterologist will monitor and test for pre-cancer cells that may result from Barrett’s Esophagus.

Your gastrointestinal health is an essential part of your overall well-being. Conditions such as Barrett’s Esophagus can greatly reduce your quality of life and put you at risk for even further gastrointestinal problems. The gastroenterologists at Gastro Care LI are prepared to help you understand your risk of Barrett’s Esophagus and the best steps for you to take. To learn more about this condition or discuss other gastrointestinal needs contact them at (516) 265-7049, today.