Barrett's oesophagus is a condition where the normal lining of the oesophagus (food pipe) is replaced by lining that is more like what is found in the small intestine.
People with Barrett's oesophagus have a small increased risk of developing oesophageal cancer, which is why it is important to undergo regular surveillance endoscopy when a diagnosis of Barrett's oesophagus is made.
Barrett's oesophagus is caused by reflux of acidic contents from the stomach.
Risk factors for the development of Barrett's oesophagus include smoking, male gender, being Caucasian, chronic heartburn or reflux and older age.
Barrett's oesophagus might not be associated with any symptoms at all. Other symptoms may include heartburn, reflux or difficulty with swallowing.
The test used to diagnose and treat Barrett's oesophagus is an Upper Endoscopy. An Upper Endoscopy (otherwise called a Gastroscopy) is a vital test to perform when difficulty with swallowing is noted.
An important part of therapy for Barrett's oesophagus is the use of medications which suppress the production of acid in the stomach. In most cases, when Barrett's oesophagus is detected patients will simply undergo surveillance Endoscopy at regular intervals. If pre-cancerous cells are detected on biopsy, other endoscopic treatments are used to remove these cells.