GERD: What is Barrett’s Esophagus?

Barrett’s Esophagus is a condition where the lining of the esophagus has been repeatedly damaged by exposure to stomach acid and the body repairs the damage using a different type of tissue.  So instead of replacing the damaged cells with cells that would be found in the esophagus the cells are replaced with cells similar to those found in the intestine and because of this the process is known as intestinal metaplasia.

Barrett’s Esophagus does not give the sufferer any symptoms so it can only be diagnosed by visual examination using an endoscope.

The cells that line the esophagus and those that line the stomach are different types of cells which have different functions and there is a defined line which marks the border between the two.  This defined line and the fact that the two types of cells also look very different make it easy for the physician to see the abnormal cells which have developed and to diagnose Barrett’s Esophagus.

There is no treatment to reverse this condition so the best possible treatment strategy is to prevent it occurring in the first place and this is why preventing acid reflux is so important.  If you have never heard of Barrett’s Esophagus you might wonder why you would need to prevent a condition that causes no symptoms.  The reason is that in a small percentage of cases the condition can progress to esophageal cancer.

As you cannot reverse the condition surgery or other alternative procedures will be recommended if a biopsy shows severe or high-grade dysplasia in the cells.  Surgery can be used to remove the abnormal lining or laser or high energy treatment can be used to destroy the precancerous cells in situ.

Tagged As: , , , ,

2 Responses to “GERD: What is Barrett’s Esophagus?

  • Dwight Clark on December 19, 2014

    To Whom it may concern,

    In regards to the Barrett’s Esophagus, I happen to have a slight case which I have been told by specialist. There were biopsies done and there were no negative results.

    My question is could you briefly apprise me of what kind of diet should I adhere to? My medication as of now is one 20mg of the purple pill per day, and no soda, smoking, or spicy foods. In your own opinion should there be anything else I should be concious of?


    • Amber on December 19, 2014

      Hi Dwight

      It is good that your condition has been picked up early and that you have no negative results from your biopsies.

      I would also advise that you don’t overfill your stomach and eat as wide a variety of foods as you can in moderation. Everyone is different and some people appear to tolerate certain foods that others react badly to so listen to your body and if you find a food that doesn’t agree with you cut it out.

      Best wishes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.