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What is Barrett’s oesophagus?

Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition where part of the lining of the oesophagus (the name for the tube which connects the mouth to the stomach) changes in response to frequent and long term acid reflux (heartburn).

How Barrett’s oesophagus is diagnosed

Barrett’s oesophagus is a pre-cancerous condition, so it is vital that it is diagnosed and treated.

Diagnosis is made by gastroscopy where a long flexible camera is inserted through the nose or mouth and is used to look directly at the oesophagus, stomach and part of the small bowel; diagnosis is confirmed by small samples taken at the time.

Current treatment may soon become more permanent

The current best treatment is a daily tablet to control the production of acid by the stomach and regular gastroscopy to examine and sample the Barrett’s area. There are other, more permanent, treatments available which are undergoing trials presently to assess their long term benefits.

Risk factors for developing Barrett’s include chronic reflux, male sex, age>50 and obesity.

Cases of persistent acid reflux, chronic and persistent heartburn and nausea/vomiting should always be discussed with your GP in order that a judgement can be made as to whether further tests are required or a simple change in diet is necessary.

Get checked by your GP for severe heartburn

If you are concerned about frequent, severe heartburn which is not eased with over the counter remedies please make an appointment with your GP.

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