Barrett's Esophagus in St. Louis, MO
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What is Barrett's esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus is a complication of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This disease occurs if the regular tissue lining of the esophagus alters to become similar to the tissue that lines your intestines. Although the chance of esophageal cancer escalates with people who suffer from Barrett’s esophagus, the likelihood of turning into cancer due to Barrett’s esophagus is lower than 1%. If you or your family member suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease, we recommend that you schedule routine appointments with a St. Louis, MO GI specialist to monitor your condition and look for indications of Barrett's esophagus. We can help you locate a local GI specialist at a Specialists in Gastroenterology near you.
Who gets Barrett’s esophagus?
The leading reason for Barrett’s esophagus is years of unmanaged acid reflux. Not everyone with GERD develops Barrett’s esophagus; however, if the disease is not managed, it can develop into Barrett’s esophagus. Indicators of higher threat include:
- Those who are over age 50
- Being white
- Having large amounts of stomach fat
- Being a men
- Current smoking or having been a smoker
What are the symptoms of Barrett's esophagus?
Most people do not present symptoms connected with the tissue change in Barrett’s esophagus. Many times, people who have this GI condition may not show any signs or symptoms.
When you have been experiencing heartburn or other similar troubles for extended amounts of time, the Specialists in Gastroenterology specialists recommend being seen by a professional to be tested for this condition. The only sure way to establish if you have Barrett’s esophagus is to do an upper endoscopy and test a sample of cells from your esophagus.
Among the symptoms connected with Barrett’s esophagus are:
- Unyielding heartburn (acid reflux)
- Trouble swallowing
- A burning sensation in the chest (less common)
What are the treatments for Barrett’s esophagus?
Care for Barrett’s esophagus differs from other gastrointestinal issues. The particular attention you receive is based on the stage of precancerous tissue presence, referred to as dysplasia, existing in the esophageal lining.
The multiple stages of dysplasia (abnormal cell formation) and potential solutions our St. Louis, MO providers may recommend include:
- No dysplasia: Although no precancerous cells are detected, it is still essential to set up regular endoscopic testing with your GI specialist to look for alterations to the cells in the esophagus. Your specialist will also typically recommend care similar to those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (such as lifestyle modifications or medication).
- Mild-grade dysplasia: With a small amount of atypical tissue formation, you could expect to receive endoscopic mucosal resection or RF ablation for removal.
- Severe dysplasia: For those with a larger amount of precancerous esophageal lining, freezing treatments, light-based therapy, or esophagectomy might be necessary.
Personalized care for Barrett's esophagus
If you suffer from GERD and have not been able to manage the condition, it is possible that Barrett's esophagus could develop. This severe, but treatable, complication associated with GERD can be diagnosed and treated by a qualified gastroenterologist. If you want to connect with a gastroenterologist who will partner with you to treat your gastrointestinal issue, including Barrett's esophagus, we invite you to reach out to the specialists at a Specialists in Gastroenterology location near you. As a best-in-class group of GI providers, Specialists in Gastroenterology is home to skilled gastroenterologists who specialize in conditions like Barrett's esophagus. Contact one of our St. Louis, MO locations to find your specialist in digestive wellness now.
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