How is Barrett's esophagus treated?
Barrett's esophagus usually is treated with medicines called proton pump inhibitors. These medicines reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. In some cases, surgery is used to keep stomach acid out of the esophagus. Your doctor may recommend that you make some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking if you smoke, exercising, losing weight, and avoiding foods that make your heartburn worse.
What can I expect if I have Barrett's esophagus?
If you have Barrett's esophagus, your doctor may have you see a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in stomach problems). Your family doctor or the gastroenterologist may want you to have a test called an upper endoscopy. In this test, a flexible tube is guided down your throat and the doctor looks inside your esophagus and stomach for abnormal cells. Your doctor will probably treat you for GERD before doing an endoscopy.
Patients who have 2 endoscopies in a row that show no abnormal cells should have an endoscopy every 3 to 5 years.
Patients who have somewhat abnormal cells should get an endoscopy every year. Patients who have more highly abnormal cells should get an endoscopy every 3 months or have surgery to remove the abnormal tissue. Abnormal cells can lead to cancer.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff