Over three million Americans have Barrett’s esophagus, a common precursor of esophageal cancer. At Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, John Brandt, MD, and J. Steven Mathews, MD, use state-of-the-art diagnostics for Barrett’s esophagus and customized treatment to heal your body and reduce your risk of cancer. Call Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center or schedule a consultation online today if you have symptoms of this potentially dangerous condition.
Your esophagus is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. Barrett’s esophagus occurs when acid reflux damages the lining of your esophagus, making it thick and red. The condition also changes your cells, which can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common cause of Barrett’s esophagus, as stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. However, you can also develop the condition without having GERD.
Your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus is higher if you have a family history of the condition, GERD, or esophageal cancer. If you smoke or are overweight, you also have an increased chance of getting Barrett’s esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus might make it difficult to swallow food, but the condition itself doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. You’re more likely to have GERD symptoms, such as:
You might also have a chronic sore throat and bad breath. In severe cases, you might experience unintentional weight loss, vomiting, or blood in your stool.
The team at Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center begins with a review of symptoms and medical history. Your doctor looks into your throat and might order blood tests.
In most cases, they use endoscopy to diagnose Barrett’s esophagus. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and a camera on its tip. Your doctor inserts the endoscope into your throat to examine the tissue in detail.
Healthy esophageal tissue should be pall and glossy. If you have Barrett’s esophagus, your esophagus looks red and velvety. Your doctor might take a biopsy during your endoscopy to test the cells for more information about your condition.
The team at Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center provides customized treatment to address your specific needs.
For example, if your biopsy doesn’t include abnormal cells, your doctor might recommend a wait-and-watch approach. You might adjust your diet or take medication to manage GERD and have routine endoscopies so your doctor can monitor your condition.
However, if you have abnormal cells in your esophagus, you might need a procedure to remove the cells, such as endoscopic resection, radiofrequency ablation, or cryotherapy.
Call Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned about Barrett’s esophagus.