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Barrett Esophagus

AMBULATORY CARE:

Barrett esophagus

is a condition that is also called intestinal metaplasia. Cells that line your esophagus change into cells that are like intestine cells. The change increases your risk for esophageal cancer.

Digestive Tract

Signs and symptoms of Barrett esophagus

are usually related to the signs and symptoms of GERD. You may have any of the following:

  • Heartburn (burning pain in your chest)
  • Pain after meals that spreads to your neck, jaw, or shoulder
  • Pain that gets better when you change positions
  • Bitter or acid taste in your mouth
  • A dry cough
  • Trouble swallowing or pain with swallowing
  • Hoarseness or a sore throat
  • Burping or hiccups
  • Feeling full soon after you start eating

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have severe chest pain and shortness of breath.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your bowel movements are black, bloody, or tarry.
  • Your vomit looks like coffee grounds or has blood in it.

Call your doctor or gastroenterologist if:

  • Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

depends on the grade of dysplasia. The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent esophageal cancer. Your healthcare provider may also suggest that you make changes in the foods you eat and in your lifestyle. You may need any of the following:

  • Anti-reflux medicines help decrease the stomach acid that can irritate your esophagus and stomach. You may also be given medicines to stop vomiting.
  • Surgery or other procedures may be done if you have high-grade dysplasia. The upper part of your stomach may be wrapped around a muscle at the end of the esophagus to strengthen it. This may help to prevent reflux. Abnormal cells may be killed with light or heat, or by freezing them. Surgery may be used to remove all or part of your esophagus.

Manage Barrett esophagus:

  • 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.

For support and more information:

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address: http://www.cancer.org

Follow up with your doctor or gastroenterologist as directed:

He or she 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.

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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.

Learn more about Barrett Esophagus (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.