A complication associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett's esophagus, is a serious health condition when the tissues that make up the esophagus start to change. These changes increase the risk of various esophageal cancers, so you should get them treated immediately. If you're experiencing GERD or heartburn symptoms, Teodor Pitea, MD, and Rawad Mounzer, MD, at Interventional Endoscopy Associates PLLC can help. With three offices in Peoria, Scottsdale, and Phoenix, Arizona, they offer effective treatments to help relieve your symptoms. Call your nearest office or schedule your appointment online today.
Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus begins to change due to excessive exposure to stomach acid.
Prolonged exposure to this harsh stomach acid causes the lining to change in texture from healthy tissue to that which is similar to what's present in the small intestine's lining.
If you have GERD or acid reflux, you have a 10% higher risk of being diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus. If the condition is left untreated on a long-term basis, your risk of being diagnosed with esophageal cancer increases dramatically.
Regular gastrointestinal examinations are crucial for monitoring the advancement of these conditions.
Barrett’s esophagus and the progressive precancerous changes in esophageal tissues due to GERD don’t cause symptoms.
If you still have GERD, you’ll experience symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing. Otherwise, you won’t likely have any signs to alert you to precancerous changes.
The key to treating Barrett's esophagus is to manage the conditions that cause it. This includes managing your GERD and acid reflux symptoms with medications that neutralize stomach acid or reduce acid production.
You can also make specific lifestyle changes that are beneficial in reducing the symptoms associated with GERD. For example, elevating the head of your bed and losing weight, if needed, help reduce the frequency of GERD.
When conservative measures don’t improve your GERD, you may be a good candidate for procedures such as:
Your provider does this procedure using an endoscope, which consists of a narrow, flexible tube equipped with lighting and a camera.
After guiding the endoscope down your esophagus, your provider at Interventional Endoscopy Associates PLLC tightens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) with polypropylene fasteners.
The LES is the muscle that keeps acid and undigested food inside your stomach. A weakened LES causes GERD, so when it’s tightened, your symptoms improve.
If you already have abnormal or precancerous changes in the esophagus, the team at Interventional Endoscopy Associates PLLC may recommend radiofrequency ablation.
Using an endoscope equipped to deliver radiofrequency energy, your provider treats the lesions with heat. After the cells slough off, your esophagus heals, but Barrett’s esophagus can return if you don’t keep your GERD under control.
If you have a history of GERD, talk with the team at Interventional Endoscopy Associates PLLC about your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus. Call or schedule an appointment online today.