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Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's Esophagus Causes

While the exact cause is not known, but this condition is usually observed in individuals who have GERD.

Barrett's Esophagus Definition

Barrett's Esophagus is a condition marked by the changes in color and composition of the cells lining the lower esophagus due to repeated stomach acid exposure often due to long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Barrett's Esophagus Diagnosis

Endoscopy involves inserting an endoscope with a camera on tip to search for precancerous cell changes when Barrett's esophagus is suspected. Tissue samples of abnormal areas are examined under the microscope to detect goblet-shaped cells that are not usually seen on the esophagus to confirm diagnosis. Repeat endoscopy one year after diagnosis to screen for cell changes that can indicate progression of the disease.

Barrett's Esophagus Symptoms and Signs

The normal pink color of the tissue lining the lower esophagus changes into salmon color. Difficulty in swallowing is often experienced due to narrowing of the esophagus. Bleeding is indicated through red-tinged vomit, blood that looks like ground coffee; black-colored or blood-tinged stool. An unexpected drop in weight can be expected.

Barrett's Esophagus Treatment

Lifestyle modifications and taking self-care steps are the initial steps in treating Barrett's esophagus. Proton pump inhibiting medications to block production of acid and irritated tissue relief. H-2-receptor blockers are often prescribed because they are less expensive than PPI medications. Esophagectomy is the surgical removal of esophagus is proven effective treatment for Barrett's esophagus but with some significant health risks. Electrocautery and laser therapy is aimed at burning away Barrett's cells.

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