Barrett’s esophagus is a serious condition that has been linked to a high likelihood of developing esophageal cancer. A small fraction of people with chronic GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) develops Barrett’s esophagus.

Barrett’s esophagus is a digestive disorder in which the tissue in your esophagus is replaced by tissue similar to your intestinal lining. This is caused by long-term exposure of the tissues to acidic stomach chemicals that erode the lining of the esophagus, causing the lining to thicken and become red. Some people who develop Barrett’s esophagus suffer from a condition referred to as “silent reflux” in which the person has acid reflux without the uncomfortable symptoms that alert them to a problem.

Your risk of esophageal cancer increases with the presence of Barrett’s esophagus. Regular checkups with your gastroenterologist are crucial to ensure you don’t develop precancerous cell growth. Precancerous cells should be treated right away to avoid progression to esophageal cancer.

Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus

Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus include:
Difficulty swallowing food
Frequent heartburn
Chest pain, which is less common

These symptoms can be similar to symptoms of GERD.

If you have persistent problems with heartburn over the course of five years, schedule an appointment with your gastrointestinal doctor. Contact your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

Vomiting red or brown blood
Chest pain
Black or bloody stools – many describe as coffee grounds
Difficulty swallowing
Unintentional weight loss
Any questions and concerns

Treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett’s esophagus is treated depending on the severity of the condition and the extent of abnormal cell presence in your esophagus. Treatments include:

GERD treatment
Endoscopy — likely reoccurring to monitor the progression
Endoscopic resection
Ablation
Cryotherapy

At AHG of Greater Washington, our gastroenterologists offer superior Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis and treatment to Washington, DC and Vienna, Virginia. Connect with us to schedule your consultation today.