In Barrett's esophagus, also called Barrett's syndrome, the
cells that line the inside of the esophagus are replaced by cells like those
that line the inside of the stomach. This change in the type of cell may occur
with long-term exposure of the esophagus to stomach juices, such as from
chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The new cells are more resistant
to stomach acid. But inflammation, sores (ulcers), and bleeding can still occur
in that part of the esophagus.
You can treat GERD to control your symptoms and feel better. Having Barrett's esophagus slightly raises the risk for
esophageal cancer. If Barrett's esophagus is suspected, a doctor may want to test the lining of the esophagus now and then to check
for cells that may develop into cancer. These tests may include endoscopy and
doing a biopsy of any cells that do not look normal.
March 6, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
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