Barrett's Esophagus - Experience

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

Please describe your experience with barrett's esophagus.

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

What is Barrett's esophagus?

Barrett's esophagus is a complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), primarily in white men. GERD is a disease in which there is reflux of acidic fluid from the stomach into the esophagus (the swallowing tube). GERD most commonly causes heartburn.

There are two requirements for the diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus. The requirements necessitate an endoscopy of the esophagus. During endoscopy, a long flexible tube with a light and camera at its tip (an endoscope) is inserted through the mouth and down into the esophagus to view and biopsy (sample tissue from) the lining of the esophagus. The two requirements are:

  1. At endoscopy, an abnormal pink lining should be seen as replacing the normal whitish lining of the esophagus. This abnormal lining extends a short distance (usually less than 2.5 inches) up the esophagus from the gastroesophageal junction (the GE junction, which is where the esophagus joins the stomach).
  2. Microscopic evaluation of the biopsy of this abnormal lining should shows that the normal lining cells of the esophagus have been replaced by intestinal type lining cells, including mucus-producing cells called goblet cells. Other cells also are present, some of which resemble cells that line the stomach. However, if intestinal goblet cells are not present, the diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus should not be made.

Barrett's esophagus is officially coded by the Library of Congress for electronic searches of the literature as Barrett esophagus, but Barrett's esophagus (with the apostrophe "s") is the name used universally. The condition is named after a surgeon, Norman Barrett, who described the condition. However, it turns out that his interpretation of the findings was not correct. In 1953, Doctors' Allison and Johnstone actually described this condition as we now understand it, namely that metaplasia was occurring. (Metaplasia, which is discussed below, is the term used when one adult tissue replaces another.) Nevertheless, the condition has been immortalized with Barrett's name.

Initially, it was thought that the Barrett's esophagus consisted of stomach (gastric) tissue replacing the usual squamous tissue lining the esophagus. However, in the mid 70's, Dr. Paull and colleagues published a paper in which they described the mucosa (inner lining) of Barrett's esophagus in greater detail than had been done previously. They pointed out that Barrett's esophagus consisted of a metaplasia in which the normal cells lining the esophagus were replaced by a mixture of gastric and intestinal lining cells. The intestinal-type lining cells also are called specialized columnar cells which include goblet cells. For a number of years, some scientists thought that there were two types of Barrett's; one in which the normal lining was replaced with stomach (gastric) type cells only, and the second in which intestinal cells were present. However, the current belief is that only the presence of intestinal-type goblet cells establishes the diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus, regardless of what other cell types are present.

Return to Barrett's Esophagus

See what others are saying

Comment from: missy, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 07

My husband just passed away from esophageal cancer. He had asked our PCP to order an endscopy for him and was told we don't do that unless you can't swallow. He had GERD for 5 years. It was diagnosed only because he had pain under his right rib cage and then it took 3 visits to our PCP. The first visit he was given muscle relaxers, the second vist a chest x-ray was ordered and the third visit my husband asked for a gallbladder sonogram and it was then that they saw lesions in his liver. The end result was esophegeal cancer with mets to the liver. He lived 5 weeks. This could have been prevented if the doctor would have ordered a scope for him. I think that endscopy should be as much a part of a physical as a colonscopy. Esophegeal cancer and barret's esophegus is increasing. If a doctor does not want to order an endscopy, then check with another doctor and be persistant. My husband was only 65 yrs. old.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: DBS, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I was diagnosed with Barrett"s esophagus about a year ago. I took 800 mg of ibuprofen for fibromyalgia for years. I was also on Celebrex. As a child I took aspirin a lot because of bronchitis. I started having heartburn, pain in my chest, and nausea. I was put on Prilosec, but it continued. At a later time I had a scope done by my liver digestive doctor. My Prilosec was increased. I had a small hernia, GERD, irritable bowel syndrome, and 42 polyps in my stomach. After being diagnosed with Barrett"s I was put on ranitidine and they increased Prilosec. I just returned from the emergency room at the hospital with hard chest pains that radiated to my back, fatigue for 3 days, cough, and problem swallowing; I also had a migraine the day before. I always have congestion. It was caused from all my gastrointestinal problems. My mother died from pancreatic cancer and I"m just afraid after all this, I think I need to get a second opinion as he only wants to scope me every 2 to 3 years. The people with cancerous Barrett"s have all seem to have a fast growing cancer and haven"t lived long.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!