Barrett's Esophagus in Washington
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What is Barrett's esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus is a complication of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This issue exists if the normal tissue that lines the esophagus changes to look like intestinal cells. Even though the chance of esophageal cancer escalates with individuals who have Barrett’s esophagus, the risk of forming cancer due to this condition is less than 1%. If you or a loved one has gastroesophageal reflux disease, we urge you to schedule routine appointments with a Washington digestive health specialist to monitor your condition and look for indications of Barrett's esophagus. You can locate a local GI provider through Washington Gastroenterology.
Who develops Barrett’s esophagus?
The leading cause of Barrett’s esophagus is years of unmanaged gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD doesn't always develop into Barrett’s esophagus, although if GERD is left untreated, it is likely that an individual may develop Barrett’s. Signs of elevated risk include:
- Having excess belly fat
- Being caucasian
- Family health history
- Smokers or having a history of smoking
- Being over age 50
- Being a male
Our GI specialists provide skilled treatment for Barrett's esophagus in Washington. If you suspect you may be at risk, please contact our team to request an appointment.
What are the symptoms of Barrett's esophagus?
There are no specific symptoms associated with the tissue modifications in Barrett’s esophagus. Many times, people who have Barrett’s esophagus do not show any warning signs or symptoms.
If you have been experiencing heartburn or other difficulties for an extended period, the Washington Gastroenterology providers recommend talking with your digestive health specialist and being tested. The only definitive way to determine whether you have Barrett’s esophagus is to have an upper endoscopy and examine the tissue in your esophagus.
Some indicators that accompany Barrett’s esophagus include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Chest pain (less common)
- Persistent heartburn (acid reflux)
What are the treatments for Barrett’s esophagus?
Treatment for Barrett’s esophagus differs from other GI issues. The form of treatment given is based on the level of atypical cells present, known as dysplasia, in your esophageal lining.
The multiple degrees of dysplasia (precancerous cell development) and possible solutions are:
- Barrett's esophagus without dysplasia: Despite no precancerous tissue being found, it is still vital to set up routine endoscopic testing by your GI provider to look for alterations to the esophageal tissues. Your specialist will also usually recommend care similar to that of GERD (such as behavioral alterations or prescription medication).
- Mild-grade dysplasia: With a low amount of atypical tissue formation, you might need endoscopic mucosal resection or RF ablation for removal.
- Severe dysplasia: With a higher level of change in the esophageal tissue, freezing treatments, light-based therapy, or a surgical procedure may be required.
Expert care for Barrett's esophagus
If you are dealing with constant heartburn, neglecting your condition can bring about Barrett's esophagus. This alarming but repairable complication associated with GERD can be assessed and addressed by an expert GI provider. If you'd like to connect with a gastroenterologist who will work alongside you to treat your GI issues, including Barrett's esophagus, please call the team at Washington Gastroenterology. As a physician-led team of GI specialists, Washington Gastroenterology features providers expertly trained to treat conditions like Barrett's esophagus. Get in touch with one of our local Washington offices to connect with a digestive health specialist in your community today.
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