Barrett's Esophagus in New Orleans, LA
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What is Barrett's esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus is an issue related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This disease happens when the normal tissue in the esophagus changes to look like the tissue that lines your intestines. Although the likelihood of esophageal cancer growing in patients who have Barrett’s esophagus is more likely than in those without, the chance of developing cancer from this condition is smaller than 1%. If you or a loved one has gastroesophageal reflux disease, then please set up recurring visits with a New Orleans, LA GI provider to monitor your condition and watch for symptoms of Barrett's esophagus. You can find a local gastroenterologist at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates.
Who does Barrett’s esophagus affect?
The most prominent cause of Barrett’s esophagus involves long-term unmanaged acid reflux. GERD doesn't always develop into Barrett’s esophagus, although if GERD is neglected, over time, one could likely develop Barrett’s. Indicators of someone who is at a higher risk include:
- Current smoker or having a history of smoking
- Being middle-aged or older
- Family history
- Being a male
- Having extra stomach fat
- Being Caucasian
What are the symptoms of Barrett's esophagus?
Most people will see no obvious signs accompanying the cellular changes that occur with Barrett’s esophagus. A lot of times, individuals who have this GI condition may not show any indications or symptoms.
If you have been experiencing heartburn or other forms of difficulties for prolonged periods, the Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates gastroenterologists advise talking with your gastroenterologist about being tested for Barrett's. The only way to diagnose whether or not you have Barrett’s esophagus is by performing a front-end GI scope and taking a biopsy of the esophageal tissue.
Some of the symptoms accompanying Barrett’s esophagus include:
- Problems swallowing liquids or food
- Unyielding heartburn (acid reflux)
- Chest pain (less common)
What are the treatment options for Barrett’s esophagus?
Care for Barrett’s esophagus is different from other GI afflictions. The type of treatment you receive depends on the degree of abnormal tissue, called dysplasia, present in the esophagus.
The different degrees of dysplasia (abnormal cell development) and potential therapies are:
- Non-dysplastic Barrett's esophagus: Though no abnormal cells are present, it is still important to schedule regular GI scopes by your provider to detect changes in the cells in the esophagus. Your digestive health specialist will usually also suggest care similar to that of gastroesophageal reflux disease (such as behavioral changes or prescription drugs).
- Low-grade dysplasia: With a small level of atypical tissue formation, you might expect to have endoscopic mucosal resection or RF ablation for therapy.
- High-grade dysplasia: For those who have a greater level of precancerous esophagus lining, cryotherapy, light-based therapy, or surgery could be necessary.
Help and hope for Barrett's esophagus
If you are dealing with persistent heartburn, then leaving your condition untreated can bring about Barrett's esophagus. This alarming but fixable complication associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease can be diagnosed and addressed by our expert GI providers. To locate a gastroenterologist who can assist you with your GI issues, like Barrett's esophagus, we invite you to get in touch with the knowledgeable staff at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. As a best-in-class group of gastroenterologists, Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates is home to leading authorities on problems such as Barrett's esophagus. Contact a New Orleans, LA location in your community to connect with your expert in digestive health today.
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