What Is Barrett’s Esophagus?The esophagus is part of the digestive system, and both are prone to a variety of ailments. The esophagus connects the mouth and stomach, allowing food to pass through when you swallow.
For some people, the lining of the esophagus is more similar to the lining of the intestines than the lining of the typical esophagus. This condition is known as Barrett’s esophagus.
The symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus are quite similar to the symptoms of other digestive issues, but many people come to urgent care when they feel the symptoms are distressing. Read on to learn more about the condition.
How Common Is Barrett’s Esophagus?
Studies suggest that up to 3 percent of people may experience Barret’s esophagus. Individuals living with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, are more likely to have Barrett’s esophagus as well.
Men are more likely to be diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus than women. Additionally, the average age at diagnosis for this condition is 55.
Why Should You Treat Barrett’s Esophagus?
Treatment of Barrett’s esophagus is important because individuals with the condition are more likely to face cancer of the esophagus. The earlier doctors spot the signs of cancer, the better a prognosis you may face.
What Are the Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus?
One of the most common symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus are those commonly associated with GERD. Heartburn, or a burning in the chest, is one of the telltale signs of the condition.
Some people experience difficulty swallowing called dysphagia. The patient may feel a clump in their throat or perhaps even a feeling as if something is stuck.
Chest pain, which extends beyond the sting of heartburn, is common with Barret’s esophagus and GERD. Many people experience this chest pain and are unsure what kind of symptoms they are experiencing. The pain is often right behind the rib cage in the case of Barrett’s esophagus, rather than toward the heart.
Keep in mind that many people do not experience any symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus often or at all, but the lining of the throat may still present a health threat.
How Can You Prevent Symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus?
When you speak with an urgent care doctor, one of the first things you will learn is to avoid triggering food and drinks. These include foods that are fatty, chocolate, peppermint, grease, and spice. Tomato-based foods also pose a problem for those prone to issues. Doctors also advise patients to avoid alcohol and coffee.
Smoking is also linked to the onset of Barrett’s esophagus. Stop smoking to prevent the symptoms of the condition from worsening.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Barrett’s Esophagus?
One of the most common methods of diagnosing Barrett’s esophagus is an endoscopy. This process allows the doctor to examine the digestive tract, including the esophagus and intestine. The doctor will look for the signs of esophageal concerns.
How Do Doctors Treat Barrett’s Esophagus?
Doctors typically treat Barrett’s esophagus differently based on the severity of the tissue in the esophagus. In most cases, a doctor will prescribe medication that helps control GERD and acid reflux in general. Medications can be especially helpful for individuals with Barrett’s esophagus because they prevent acid from escaping into the esophagus.
If you come to an urgent care center but require more intensive treatment, the doctor there may refer you to a surgeon. The surgery typically tightens the stomach muscles, helping to prevent acid from escaping through the sphincter and into the throat.
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