Signs & Symptoms
Is Barrett’s esophagus more common in people with GERD?
Yes, Barrett’s esophagus is more common in people with GERD. Though Barrett’s esophagus often times does not have prominent symptoms, people who suffer from GERD may experience symptoms such as:
- chest pain.
Barrett’s esophagus affects more men than women and is more common among Caucasians. It is typically diagnosed by endoscopy.
Endoscopy is a safe outpatient procedure where a flexible tube with a camera is passed through the mouth to look at the lining of the esophagus and take a small tissue sample (biopsy).
What causes Barrett’s esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus is more common in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a common condition where stomach contents, including acid and bile, regurgitate into the esophagus. It has been suggested that this disorder is the body’s response and attempt to protect the esophagus from the irritating effects of acid and bile by changing to a different lining.
Unfortunately, this condition is believed to increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Most physicians recommend that people suffering from this disorder undergo endoscopy about every two years. This allows doctors to screen for cancer and allows for early treatment. In some cases, more frequent endoscopy is recommended.
What happens if Barrett’s esophagus goes untreated?
Patients with Barrett’s esophagus have up to 60 times higher risk of developing esophageal cancer (EAC). EAC has a 5-year survival rate of only 14%. Barrett’s esophagus patients with any of the above risk factors should speak to their physician about the most effective treatment to reduce their risk.
These resources were made possible through a partnership between Medtronic and CDHF