Barrett's Esophagus in Utah
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What is Barrett's esophagus?
Barrett's esophagus is a gastrointestinal issue associated with long-term GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This condition surfaces when the regular tissue lining of your esophagus alters to match intestinal cells. Even though the likelihood of esophageal cancer rises among individuals who suffer from Barrett's esophagus, please note that the probability of Barrett's esophagus progressing into cancer is less than 1%. If you or a family member experiences gastroesophageal reflux disease, then we advise that you schedule periodic visits with a Utah gastroenterologist to closely watch your health and check for indications of Barrett's esophagus. We can help you identify a local gastroenterologist at Utah Gastroenterology.
Who is at risk for Barrett's esophagus?
Barrett's esophagus primarily develops as a result of years of neglected acid reflux. GERD doesn't always develop into Barrett’s esophagus, but if the acid reflux is left untreated, over several years, it is possible that an individual could experience Barrett's. Indicators of higher threat involve:
- Current smoking or having been a smoker
- Those who are men
- Family health history
- Those with excess belly fat
- Being over age 50
- Those who are white
Our GI specialists provided skilled care for Barrett's esophagus in Utah. If you fear you might be at risk, please reach out to our team to request a consultation.
Symptoms of Barrett's esophagus
The symptoms of Barrett's esophagus are often subtle. Many times, individuals who have this condition will not experience any indications or symptoms.
In the event that you have had heartburn or other gastrointestinal difficulties for an extensive period of time, the specialists at Utah Gastroenterology suggest talking with your GI doctor about testing for digestive disorders. The only definite method to diagnose if you have Barrett’s esophagus is to perform a front-end GI scope and take an exam of the esophageal tissue lining.
Common symptoms connected with Barrett's esophagus include:
- Swallowing trouble
- Frequent heartburn (acid reflux)
- A burning sensation in the chest (not as common)
What are the options for Barrett’s esophagus treatment?
Treatments for Barrett's esophagus tend to take a different approach than treatments for other GI conditions. The particular therapy your doctor recommends will depend on the stage of atypical cell presence, known as dysplasia, present in the esophagus.
The different degrees of dysplasia (precancerous cell development) and common treatments are:
- No dysplasia: Though no precancerous cells are found at this stage, it is still vital to arrange regular testing performed by your GI doctor to detect modifications to the tissue in the esophagus. Your physician will also normally suggest therapies much like that of acid reflux (such as behavioral changes or prescription drugs).
- Mild-grade dysplasia: With a small amount of atypical tissue formation, you can expect to receive endoscopic mucosal resection or radiofrequency ablation for therapy.
- High-grade dysplasia: For a greater amount of change in the tissue, freezing treatments, photodynamic therapy, or esophagectomy could be needed.
Help and hope for Barrett's esophagus
Some patients may not think of heartburn as a serious issue, but frequent and untreated acid reflux can result in the development of Barrett's esophagus. This alarming but treatable issue associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease can be identified and addressed by an experienced GI doctor. To speak with a GI doctor who will partner with you to manage your GI condition, like Barrett's esophagus, we invite you to reach out to the team at Utah Gastroenterology. As a physician-led team of gastroenterologists, Utah Gastroenterology features experienced experts in conditions like Barrett's esophagus. Contact our Utah practice to locate your expert in GI health now.
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