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Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett’s Esophagus services offered in Wantagh, NY

About 10-15% of people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) develop Barrett’s esophagus, a serious condition that can lead to esophageal cancer. At Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists, with offices in North Wantagh, and South Wantagh, New York, a team of renowned gastroenterologists works together to provide diagnosis and effective treatment for Barrett’s esophagus. Call the nearest office or click on the scheduling feature for help now.

Barrett’s Esophagus Q & A

What is Barrett’s esophagus?

Barrett’s esophagus is tissue damage inside your esophagus, the pipe that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. With Barrett’s esophagus, the tissue lining your esophagus changes in unhealthy ways, essentially becoming similar to the tissue lining your small intestine. 

Barrett’s esophagus may lead to esophageal adenocarcinoma, a type of esophageal cancer. So it’s important to know whether you’re at risk for Barrett’s esophagus. 

Who is at risk for Barrett’s esophagus?

Most people who develop Barrett’s esophagus have chronic acid reflux, also called  gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid washes up into the esophagus, it can irritate and eventually cause unhealthy changes in the tissue. 

However, it’s also possible to develop the condition without acid reflux. 

In addition to GERD, some other risk factors for Barrett’s esophagus include: 

  • Family history of Barrett’s esophagus
  • Family history of esophageal cancer
  • Being male
  • Being over 50
  • Being Caucasian
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight

If you’re at risk for Barrett’s esophagus because you have GERD or other risk factors, Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists can monitor you regularly to protect your digestive and whole-body health.

What are the symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus?

Barrett’s esophagus doesn’t typically cause symptoms on its own. However, many people with Barrett’s esophagus experience typical symptoms of GERD like a sour taste in the throat, frequent heartburn, and difficulty swallowing. 

How is Barrett’s esophagus diagnosed?

Generally, the first step is an upper endoscopy, a procedure in which your gastroenterologist examines your esophagus up close to look for the changes of Barrett’s esophagus. 

They also take small tissue samples from your esophageal lining and examine the tissue under a microscope to check for precancerous changes (dysplasia). 

The grade of dysplasia, ranging from none to high-grade, is the risk of Barrett’s later turning into esophageal cancer. So, the results of your endoscopy guide your treatment. 

How is Barrett’s esophagus treated?

If you have no dysplasia, you may only need regular monitoring. This usually involves an endoscopy, like a capsule endoscopy, every few years. If you have troublesome GERD symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medications and lifestyle changes to help you feel better. 

On the other hand, if you have dysplasia, you need more frequent upper endoscopies to check for cancer. High-grade dysplasia means you may need a treatment like radiofrequency ablation to remove your damaged esophageal lining and reduce your cancer risk. 

Barrett’s esophagus is a very manageable and treatable condition, so don’t wait to get help. Call Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists or book an appointment online now.