If you have frequent heartburn or difficulty swallowing, these symptoms could indicate you have Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that affects the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. At Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg and Stafford, Virginia, the skilled gastroenterology team diagnoses and treats Barrett’s esophagus to reduce your risk of cancer. Call one of the offices to learn more or schedule an appointment online today.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition associated with redness and damage in your esophagus. Often caused by acid reflux, it occurs when acid from your stomach moves up into your esophagus and irritates it. Barrett’s esophagus can increase your risk of esophageal cancer, which is why early detection and treatment are important.
Symptoms commonly associated with Barrett’s esophagus include:
You could develop esophageal cancer because of Barrett’s esophagus, but the risk is small.
Your chance of having Barrett’s esophagus may increase because of:
Adopting healthy habits is a good way to lower your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, but the exact cause of the condition isn’t entirely understood.
To find out if you have Barrett’s esophagus and develop a treatment plan, the Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg team generally recommends an upper endoscopy.
During the procedure, they insert a thin lighted tube with a camera attached down your throat into your esophagus to examine the inside of it. Your provider might take a tissue sample, or a biopsy, during your endoscopy.
Specialists also review your symptoms and medical history, check your vital signs, and complete a physical exam.
Your treatment plan for Barrett’s esophagus could include:
Things you can do at home to reduce GERD and the risk of Barrett’s esophagus include eating nutritious foods, eliminating foods that trigger heartburn (coffee, alcohol, chocolate, mint, etc.), and maintaining a healthy body weight. Don’t smoke, get regular exercise, and elevate the head of your bed.
If you have a mild case of Barrett’s esophagus with no pre-cancerous tissues, your Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg provider might simply monitor your condition periodically with an endoscopy.
Taking medications can relieve GERD symptoms, especially when combined with healthy lifestyle changes. Your specialist might recommend surgery to alter gastrointestinal tissues and reduce acid reflux.
If you have cancerous cells in your esophagus, the Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg team could recommend surgery, radiofrequency ablation, cryotherapy, or other medical procedures to eliminate or destroy abnormal tissues.
Regardless of the type of treatment you receive, Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg specialists monitor your condition routinely, as Barrett’s esophagus can eventually return after treatment.
To get screened for Barrett’s esophagus, call one of the Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg offices or book an appointment online today.