What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment of Barrett's esophagus focuses on eliminating GERD. People with GERD can minimize symptoms by:
avoiding carbonated drinks and fruit juices
avoiding fatty or spicy foods
eating small, frequent meals
limiting caffeine intake
limiting intake of alcohol, especially red wine
managing weight to avoid obesity
not eating food within 3 hours of bedtime
not smoking or using tobacco products
sleeping with the head of the bed elevated
staying upright after eating
Some of the common medical and surgical treatments for GERD include the following:
fundoplication, a surgical procedure that strengthens the esophageal sphincter
GI stimulants that empty the stomach faster, such as metoclopramide
H2 blockers, such as cimetidine, ranitidine, and famotidine
proton-pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, lansoprazole, or rabeprazole
A surgical procedure known as dilation is done to correct an esophageal stricture. The surgeon passes a series of dilators down the esophagus. The dilators gently stretch the narrowed opening apart.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can prevent the cells of Barrett's esophagus from changing into cancer.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Medicines used to treat GERD may cause dry mouth, bloating, and allergic reactions. Surgery can cause bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
The abnormal cells of Barrett's esophagus cannot be changed back into normal cells. The cells also cannot be stopped from changing into cancer. It is important to treat the GERD to prevent further damage.
How is the condition monitored?
The healthcare provider may order regular esophagoscopy exams to check for cancer. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.