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Barrett’s Esophagus: Causes And Effective Treatment

Man Holding Stomach | Gastroenterologist AtlantaBarrett’s Esophagus is a medical condition that is a direct result of a GERD. The term GERD is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is caused by stomach acid that ends up in the esophagus due to heartburn and excessive acid indigestion.

Causes of Barrett’s Esophagus

The disorder of Barrett’s Esophagus can be described as serious alterations in the lining of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid refluxing and scarring the esophageal tissue. Due to this scarring effect on the tissue, the esophagus no longer stretches and conforms in shape when food or liquid is ingested.

One of the main problems facing patients with Barrett’s Esophagus is the loss of elasticity to the esophagus tissue. Swallowing may become difficult due to this condition. Patients who develop this disease are also at a greater risk of developing esophageal cancer due to the harmful changes in the lining of the esophagus.

Symptoms

Patients may experience no direct symptoms of this disorder, yet may have been troubled with symptoms of heartburn and severe acid reflux for years prior to the onset of Barrett’s Esophagus. Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing may also occur with this condition.

Other potential symptoms that may be experienced include sore throat, hoarseness of the voice, and possibly adult-onset asthma. All of these symptoms have been found to be related to the diagnosis of Barrett’s Esophagus.

Treatment Options

The main goal of medical practitioners who treat patients with Barrett’s Esophagus is to stop any further damage to the tissue and lining of the esophagus. This would include medication therapy with prescription or non-prescription antacids, acid reducers, or proton pump inhibitors. These medications are commonly used to treat regular heartburn and GERD and typically have few side effects.

Other methods of treatment include changes in diet, weight loss, and elevating sleep position to avoid reflux at bedtime.

Surgical Treatment

Barrett’s esophagus may require surgery to stretch the esophagus when it has progressed to a point where swallowing becomes difficult. Doctors may also opt for surgery to tighten the upper stomach’s sphincter to stop excessive acid from reaching the esophagus.

Additional Information

For patients who would like to learn more about this disorder, detailed information can be found at GI North gastroenterology services or by clicking here. GI North offers medical services related to Barrett’s Esophagus and other gastrointestinal disorders.

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