What Are the Causes of Barrett Esophagus?

Q:
What Are the Causes of Barrett Esophagus?

A:
Barrett esophagus is a disorder indicating the lining of the esophagus damaged by stomach acid. The lining becomes more like that of the small intestine. This occurs in the area where the esophagus and the stomach join. (See picture below)

Illustration showing Barrett's esophagus

When you eat, food passes from your throat to your stomach through the esophagus. A ring of muscle fibers in the lower esophagus keeps stomach contents from moving backward. If these muscles do not close tightly, harsh stomach acid can leak into the esophagus. This is called acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Over time it may casue chronic imflammation of the esophagus. Barrett esophagus is more common in people who have had GERD for a long time or who developed it at a young age.

Most patients with Barrett’s esophagus will not develop cancer. However, a precancerous change in the tissue, called dysplasia, may lead to cancer. So, it’s important to have regular checkups for precancerous cells.

 

Keywords: causes; barrett esophagus; acid reflux

Leave a Reply