A Quick Guide to Living With Barrett’s Esophagus

Neil Sharma MD

June 28, 2022

Neil Sharma MD


Neil Sharma MD pointed out that, learning that you have Barrett’s esophagus is a good first step in managing your GERD symptoms and keeping your regularly scheduled endoscopy tests. However, a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that you need immediate surgery to cure your condition. This article covers symptoms, treatment, complications, and the prevalence of the condition. Here’s a quick guide to living with Barrett’s esophagus.


While symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus vary from person to person, many people mistake these issues with GERD. People who suffer from heartburn or reflux may experience chest pain or a burp after eating. Other symptoms include coughing or a sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, and trouble swallowing solid foods. Some people may experience no symptoms at all or may experience only occasional heartburn.

People with Barrett’s esophagus can develop an increased risk of esophageal cancer. They may need regular medication to control GERD. Most people with Barrett’s esophagus are middle-age or older. The average age of diagnosis is 55. Men are more likely to develop the condition than women and Caucasians. People who smoke also have a higher risk.

Treatment by Neil Sharma MD

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus changes and is inflamed. A physical exam and thorough history are usually the first steps in the diagnosis. Treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health. This article discusses treatment options for Barrett’s esophagus.

Endoscopic ablation uses different techniques to destroy dysplastic tissue and reduce the risk of cancer. The procedure is done by a gastroenterologist or surgeon in a hospital or outpatient center. The procedure involves the use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which uses radio waves to kill the Barrett’s tissue. Patients must undergo an upper endoscopy before the procedure. Afterwards, the doctor may remove Barrett’s tissue.

After RFA is completed, patients are usually prescribed an oral numbing solution and must go through a modified diet for two to three days after the procedure. A follow-up endoscopy is performed in approximately three to six months to see whether any additional treatments are necessary. Patients are then placed on a surveillance program for at least a year after the procedure to monitor their progress.

Complications by Neil Sharma MD

Patients with Barrett’s esophagus may take medications for acid suppression, and regular screening endoscopies are recommending. Surgery is an option for some patients, as well. A radiofrequency ablation procedure destroys abnormal esophageal cells. However, this procedure is more invasive than the medications recommended. Although patients with Barrett’s esophagus may not experience symptoms immediately, they will close monitored after treatment.

A biopsy is another option to diagnose Barrett’s esophagus. The doctor will remove a piece of esophageal tissue and examine it in the laboratory. The pathologist will examine the tissue to determine if it contains the cells characteristic of Barrett’s esophagus. The doctor will discuss the various treatment options available and will make recommendations based on the patient’s overall health and the presence of dysplasia.

Although Barrett’s esophagus can cause many problems, one of the biggest is the risk of esophageal cancer. It’s estimate that 0.1 to 5% of people with the condition develop cancer in their esophagus. Fortunately, the incidence of esophageal cancer associated with Barrett’s esophagus is relatively low, and patients usually live as long as people without it. The good news is that there are treatments available that can help prevent or control the condition.

Prevalence by Neil Sharma MD

Prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus cancer varies from 1% to 10%. The reason for the discrepancy may be due to different study populations or biopsy methods. In addition, some studies have failed to detect the disease in a significant number of patients. For example, studies of the disease in women have been founding to be lower than those in men, which may be due to different factors such as gender or age.

The prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus is higher in Asian and African populations than in other regions. In the Middle East and Africa, the condition is relatively rare, with a prevalence of 7.4% in Turkey and 8.4% in Jordan. In contrast, the prevalence is lower in China, with only 2% of patients diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus.