Up to 6.8% of Americans have Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that raises your risk of developing esophageal cancer. At The Gastroenterology Group in Akron, Ohio, the experienced gastrointestinal system specialists offer attentive, comprehensive care for Barrett’s esophagus. Their treatment helps you prevent cancer. Book your appointment online now or call the office to schedule a consultation.
Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed when the lining of your food pipe (esophagus) thickens and reddens, resembling the lining of your stomach. This change happens because of chronic acid backwash from your stomach into your esophagus (acid reflux).
Most people with Barrett’s esophagus have suffered from chronic acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
About 10-15% of people with acid reflux eventually develop Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus increases your risk of developing a certain kind of cancer in your esophagus, esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Barrett’s esophagus doesn’t cause the symptoms; acid reflux or GERD causes them. The most common symptoms of acid reflux and GERD include:
If your symptoms show up regularly, it’s essential that you schedule an appointment at The Gastroenterology Group promptly.
The earlier you receive an acid reflux or GERD diagnosis, the better your chances of preventing Barrett’s esophagus. Or, if you already have Barrett’s esophagus, you can then take immediate steps to reduce your cancer risk.
Upper endoscopy is the most commonly used diagnostic tool for Barrett’s esophagus. Your doctor inserts a lighted tube with a tiny built-in camera through your throat and into your esophagus. This gives the doctor a clear view that’s transmitted to a nearby monitor.
Providers can distinguish between a healthy pale esophagus lining and an irritated red Barrett’s esophagus lining.
Usually, an upper endoscopy also involves the removal of a tiny tissue sample (biopsy). A lab analysis confirms the diagnosis and determines the exact amount of tissue damage.
Treatment generally focuses on reducing acid reflux and GERD symptoms rather than treating Barrett’s esophagus itself. The most common approaches include medication accompanied by dietary and lifestyle changes.
If you don’t improve with these nonsurgical treatments, surgery to strengthen the valve at the end of your esophagus is an option. There are other surgical options based on your specific situation.
Barrett’s esophagus can be pretty serious, but it’s usually preventable if you take action when you notice acid reflux symptoms. Call The Gastroenterology Group now or click on the provided link to arrange your appointment.