WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Barrett esophagus is a condition in which the cells that line your esophagus are damaged. The damage can cause abnormal changes in the cells. These abnormal changes increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
- Anti-reflux medicines may be needed to help decrease the stomach acid that can irritate your esophagus and stomach. These medicines may include proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and histamine type-2 receptor (H2) blockers. You may also be given medicines to stop vomiting.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
Your PHP may need to repeat your endoscopy and biopsy. These tests help look for early signs of esophageal cancer. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Do not eat foods that make your symptoms worse. Examples are chocolate, garlic, onions, spicy or fatty foods, citrus fruits (oranges), and tomato-based foods (spaghetti sauce). Do not drink alcohol, drinks that contain caffeine, or carbonated drinks, such as soda. Ask your PHP if there are other foods and drinks you should not have.
Maintain a healthy weight:
If you are overweight, weight loss may help relieve symptoms. Ask your PHP about safe ways to lose weight.
Do not smoke:
If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking may worsen acid reflux. Ask your PHP for information if you need help quitting.
Contact your PHP if:
- Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have severe chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Your bowel movements are black, bloody, or tarry.
- Your vomit looks like coffee grounds or has blood in it.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.