The acid and bile from the stomach can cause inflammation to the cells lining the oesophagus. If this happens over many years, these cells may start to change, becoming more like the cells that line the intestine.
This is then called Barrett’s Oesophagus.
Acid and bile coming from the stomach into the oesophagus may cause heartburn.
The normal oesophagus (gullet or food pipe) is lined with a pinkish-white tissue called squamous epithelium (left image).
Barrett's Oesophagus is a clear precursor of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (AC) but because it is so under-diagnosed, patients with AC have not been aware of it.
Barrett's oesophagus is a condition in which the normal squamous epithelium of the oesophagus has been replaced by an abnormal red columnar epithelium (right image).
In the US it is referred to as esophageal cancer / cancer of the esophagus.