Barrett’s esophagus is a change in your esophagus tissue lining. Doctors do not know the exact cause of the condition, but you are more likely to get it if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Experts believe stomach acid irritates the esophagus lining, leading to tissue changes. But you can have Barrett’s esophagus without GERD. Common symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus include frequent heartburn, acid reflux, regurgitation, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Barrett’s esophagus Austin can increase your chances of developing esophageal cancer. The condition can be treated depending on your symptom and endoscopy results. Below are ways to treat Barrett’s esophagus.
Treatments to prevent or slow the occurrence of Barrett’s esophagus
Lifestyle changes and medication mainly focus on preventing or slowing the development of Barrett’s esophagus. They treat and control acid reflux.
Lifestyle modifications may include diet changes, avoiding alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and tobacco, and losing weight. Avoid spicy foods, chocolate, and peppermint, because they can aggravate reflux. Ensure your head is elevated while sleeping. Elevating your head during sleep can keep the acid in your stomach from flowing into your esophagus. Also, do not go to bed immediately after eating, and take all medications with a lot of water.
Your doctor may prescribe proton pump inhibitors to help reduce stomach acid production and antacids to neutralize stomach acid. H2 blockers can help reduce the release of stomach acid. Your provider can also prescribe promotility agents. These drugs help speed up food movement from your stomach to your intestines.
Treatments that specifically target Barrett’s esophagus
Radiofrequency ablation involves your doctor delivering radio waves through an endoscope inserted into your esophagus. It is the most common treatment for Barrett’s esophagus. Radiofrequency ablation destroys abnormal cells leaving the healthy cells underneath unharmed.
Photodynamic therapy is where your doctor uses a laser inserted in an endoscope to kill abnormal cells in your esophagus lining without destroying normal tissue. Before this procedure, you take a drug known as Photofrin, which makes cells sensitive to light.
Endoscopic spray cryotherapy
Endoscopic spray cryotherapy is a newer treatment procedure for Barrett’s esophagus. It involves applying cold nitrogen or carbon dioxide gas through an endoscope to your esophagus to help freeze abnormal cells.
Endoscopic mucosal resection
Endoscopic mucosal resection involves your provider lifting the abnormal lining, cutting it off the esophagus wall, and removing it through an endoscope. The primary goal of this treatment is to eliminate any precancerous or cancerous cells in your esophagus lining. If you have cancer cells, your doctor first performs an ultrasound to ensure cancer has not spread deeper into your esophagus walls.
Your doctor can suggest esophagectomy surgery if you have severe precancerous cells or cancer. Surgery in the early stages increases the chances of being cured. Depending on your condition, your surgeon may remove all or part of your esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the tissue lining your esophagus changes. The condition can be treated through lifestyle changes, medications, radiofrequency ablation, photodynamic therapy, endoscopic spray cryotherapy, endoscopic mucosal resection, or surgery. Schedule an appointment at Lone Star Gastroenterology for Barrett’s esophagus treatment to relieve acid reflux.