Barrett’s oesophagus is a serious health disorder that is often diagnosed in people suffering from GORD. It is actually a complication of this disease in which normal tissue lining the oesophagus (that is stratified squamous) changes to tissue that resembles the intestinal lining (that is simple columnar epithelium).
There are no specific symptoms related to Barrett’s oesophagus, although patients may have symptoms similar to GORD. Although the risk is small, this disease has a potential to develop oesophageal adenocarcinoma (a potentially fatal cancer of the oesophagus).
There are no specific symptoms of Barrett’s oesophagus. The signs and symptoms that a patient experiences is due to long-standing GORD and may include:
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Frequent heartburn
- feeling sick (nausea)
- being sick (vomiting)
- Less commonly, chest pain
What exactly causes Barrett’s oesophagus is not known. Most people with long-standing GORD have a great chance to develop Barrett’s oesophagus. In GORD, stomach contents (ingested food + acid secretions) regurgitate back into the oesophagus, thus damaging the normal oesophageal lining. As a compensatory mechanism, when the oesophageal tissues try to heal itself, the stratified squamous cells can change to the simple columnar type of intestinal cells found in Barrett’s oesophagus.
Endoscopy (a procedure that involves a lighted tube with a camera at the end) is the first choice for diagnosing Barrett’s oesophagus. This helps to see any abnormal areas. Small samples of cells (biopsies) can be taken and examined under a microscope.
Treatment for Barrett’s oesophagus depends on major two factors; your overall health and the extent of abnormal cell growth so-called dysplasia.
- Periodic endoscopy
- Treatment for GORD
- Endoscopic Resection
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Photodynamic therapy