Most people with Barrett’s Oesophagus suffer nothing other than heartburn. A few people may get inflamed ulcers in their oesophagus.
Barrett’s ulcers are diagnosed by endoscopy. This means using a tiny camera to examine your gullet and stomach. Treatment may include increasing your acid lowering medications or surgery to prevent reflux of acid. If you are anaemic this may be treated with iron tablets or a blood transfusion.
If you develop these symptoms you should see your doctor.
A stricture may be diagnosed by performing an endoscopy or a barium swallow. In a barium test you drink a dense liquid called barium and X-rays are taken as it passes through your gullet and stomach.
Strictures are treated by stretching the narrowed gullet. This involves an endoscopy, usually under X-ray control, and then a tube or balloon is passed down to stretch the gullet. It is also necessary to reduce your acid reflux to prevent the stricture reforming. This is achieved by increasing your dose of acid lowering medications or occasionally by surgery.
Pre-cancerous change (dysplasia)
The abnormal cells are thought to progress through low grade dysplasia to high grade dysplasia before becoming cancerous.
It can, however, take up to 10 years for dysplasia to develop into cancer although, in some people, cancer may have already started developing within the area of high-grade dysplasia at the time it is diagnosed.This gradual progression explains why an increasing number of hospitals perform endoscopies at regular intervals. The aim is to detect any dysplasia before it progresses to cancer.