How to Cure or Treat Barrett Esophagus?

Q:
How to Cure or Treat Barrett Esophagus?

A:
Barrett esophagus is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by stomach acid. The lining becomes more like the lining of the small intestine rather than the esophagus’. This occurs in the area where the esophagus and the stomach join.

Your doctor will take specific treatments based on your age and severity of the disease. Currently, there is no cure for Barrett’s esophagus. Thus, treatments mainly aim at preventing further damage from occurring. Treatments may include:

No dysplasia

Your doctor will likely recommend:

  • Periodic endoscopy to monitor the cells in your esophagus
    If your biopsies show no dysplasia, you’ll probably have a follow-up endoscopy in one year and then every three years if no changes occur.
  • Treatment for GERD
    Lifestyle changes and medication can ease your signs and symptoms. You can opt for a surgery to tighten the sphincter which controls the flow of stomach acid. Treating GERD doesn’t treat the underlying Barrett’s esophagus, but can help make it easier to detect dysplasia.

Low-grade dysplasia

For low-grade dysplasia, your doctor may recommend another endoscopy in six months, with additional follow-up every six to 12 months.

But, given the risk of esophageal cancer, your doctor may recommend treatments if the diagnosis is confirmed. Preferred treatments include:

  • Endoscopic resection, which uses an endoscope to remove damaged cells.
  • Radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to remove abnormal esophagus tissue.

If severe inflammation of the esophagus is present at initial endoscopy, you need to take another endoscopy after you’ve received three to four months of treatment to reduce stomach acid.

High-grade dysplasia

High-grade dysplasia is generally thought to be a sign of esophageal cancer.

For this reason, your doctor may recommend endoscopic resection or radiofrequency ablation. Other options for treatment include:

  • Cryotherapy, which uses an endoscope to apply a cold liquid or gas to abnormal cells in the esophagus.
  • Photodynamic therapy, which destroys abnormal cells by making them sensitive to light.
  • Surgery in which the doctor will remove the damaged part of your esophagus. The remaining portion is attached to your stomach.

After treatment, Barrett’s esophagus is still possible to recur. Ask your doctor how often you need to come back for follow-up testing.

 

Keywords: cure; barrett esophagus

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.