Barrett's Esophagus


The esophagus is a tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Chronic esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is a complication of chronic esophagitis. Barrett's esophagus is a change in the cells that line the esophagus. Normal cells are flat-shaped squamous cells. Barrett's esophagus cells are shaped like a column. This cell change is called metaplasia. It is a premalignant phase that may result in cancer of the esophagus if it is not treated.


The exact cause of Barrett's esophagus is not known. It may result from damage to the esophagus caused by the chronic reflux of stomach acid. Frequent or chronic reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal Reflux
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Barrett's esophagus is more common in Caucasian men over 40 years old. Other factors that increase your chances of Barrett's esophagus include chronic heartburn or a history of GERD.


In some cases Barrett's esophagus may not produce symptoms.Some people with GERD may have the following symptoms:
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Sore throat or chronic cough
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sour taste in mouth from acid reflux
More serious symptoms include:
  • Difficulty or pain with swallowing, a condition called dysphagia
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue, or difficulty or pain with breathing associated with anemia


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. In order to diagnose Barrett's esophagus, your doctor may recommend an upper GI endoscopy with a biopsy.

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Water Before Meals May Promote Weight Loss
August 2015

A randomized trial found that drinking water before main meals led to higher weight loss than those who were asked to imagine a full stomach before main meals. Water preloading is believed to help create a feeling of fullness or satiety during the meal, which may help curb overeating.

dot separator
previous editions

Fecal Transplants Induce Ulcerative Colitis Remission
July 2015

Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight
June 2015

Mindful Meditation May Reduce Symptoms and Complications of Insomnia
May 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »