Patient Comments: Barrett's Esophagus - Experience

Please describe your experience with barrett's esophagus.

Comment from: jer8226, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 03

I was diagnosed with Barrett's when I was 24. It is extremely scary knowing I have this at such a young age. I had the endoscopy because I had extreme pain under my right rib. I thought it was my gallbladder, but it turned out to be Barrett's. This past week, I've been having problems swallowing. I recently moved and can't find a doctor to look at me until May. I just want everything to be OK.

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Comment from: GERD sufferer, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

Many years ago, I suffered from "stomach pain". It felt like I had been punched in the diaphragm. This went on so long I sought medical help. After a number of procedures, I finally had a gastroscopy and was diagnosed with GERD. I was told to have a gastroscopy every year or two which I did. My older brother suffered from "heartburn" and was always popping TUMS or ROLAIDS. Finally, he had a scope done and was found to have esophageal cancer. When they proceeded to operate in order to remove part of the esophagus and reposition it, it was discovered the cancer had spread. They closed him up, and he passed away two months later. Then I saw a program on television about a fellow who had died the same way. His brother was told Barrett's Esophagus, which is a pre-cancerous condition that can develop if GERD is left untreated, can be hereditary. The brother got treatment and was okay. I told my doctor that my brother had had Barrett's and about the show. When he did my next gastroscopy, he told me I did have Barrett's; however, the last one I had about three years ago was clean. I was told I didn't have to continue with the scopes as long as I took the medication. What works for me is omeprazole. I have taken it for years and have no side effects I am aware of. I do encourage everyone I know who suffers from heartburn which doesn't go away with change of diet, to see a doctor and get a gastroscopy.

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Comment from: Cyfy88, 45-54 Female Published: December 07

I am a 50 year old female. 10 years ago I had 2 open esophagus sores and 1 open stomach sore, I was not diagnosed with H-pylori or barrett's at this time. Eating Prevacid for 2 years consistently did not cure it. Seemingly chewing licorice root tablets did. I made lifestyle changes, gave up sugar (which irritated my stomach) and refined whites, walked the treadmill 5x weekly and only occasionally experienced heartburn. Starting a business (stress) brought it back. 1 year later "Empty Nest" triggered 2 hospitals visits in 1 week with extreme pain in stomach under sternum. After a CT scan, Ultra Sound and Barium Drink X-rays they determined I had GERD. I requested the Gastrointestinal Doctor to do an Upper GI but she was more concerned about a lower so I did not insist. I found another doctor who was willing to do the Upper and that's when they found barrett's disease with low grade Displasia. I will now take Ranitidine daily and Prevacid 30mgs daily and follow up with another Scope in 3 months.

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Comment from: Cindy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 16

I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago with Barrett's, GERD, and a Hiatal Hernia. I was having a lot of heartburn and reflux, to the point that several times; I thought I was having a heart attack. I was also having back problems in the left wing of my back/shoulder. I made an appointment with my family physician for my back (a follow up after being in the emergency room for several spasms). I mentioned to him that I have acid and heartburn pretty bad. He asked how often and I laughed and told him, "everyday.” I never thought it was that big of a deal. He immediately sent me to the gastro doctor, and commented that my back problems could be part of the GERD. The gastro doctor, ordered an EGD immediately and low and behold, I waited too long. Fortunately, no cancer, however, this is something you never get rid of. I will always be medicated for my acid and to prevent barrett's from worsening. I am reading that so many of you don't know whether to push for more tests, or you wait until you are way too late. You are the only patient you need to worry about! The doctors have many. You need to worry about you and push for anything you feel you need. I am fortunate enough to have great doctors that have been with me for years, and have listened to me when I complain, but many people do not have that, you need to be your own advocate! You want another EGD, then you tell them, and you get them to help you get it approved with your insurance. I just had my second EGD and my doctor has made it very clear that I have to have the EGD every year to make sure the barrett's isn't worsening. I am waiting for biopsies from this last one and they don't anticipate a change, however, I will see him again next year!

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I am a white female. Ten years ago, a friend of mine did me the biggest favor: When I told her I always had heartburn, and it occurred no matter what I ate, she told me to immediately set up an appointment with her gastro specialist. I was surprised that he immediately performed an endoscopy. He found I had Barrett's and put me immediately on Prevacid. I was prescribed to take two tablets a day rather than one. I had to go to the VA for care after I lost my medical benefits. They would not prescribe Prevacid but Prilosec. I asked my physician repeatedly for endoscopies to be performed because of the Barrett's. He said I had no symptoms and therefore the medication was working. I finally changed doctors after four years of this. To my surprise and dismay, I had stage II esophageal cancer. The doctor told me to put my affairs in order. This is not something to play with; when you are concerned, fight for your endoscopy. I wish that I had and I might not be going through this. There is nothing to the test, and you are given medication to put you in a dream-like state. Please be sure that you see your doctor on a regular basis and have endoscopies often if you have Barrett's. This is a horrible cancer and you may need to advocate for yourself. I wish I had! I pray that none of you let yours get out of hand. Of course, we now have more information, but stay on top of it, and prevent yours from developing into cancer.

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