Barrett’s Esophagus

Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. If you have Barrett’s esophagus, the lining of your esophagus is changed by repeated chronic (long term) exposure to stomach acid. The cells of the esophagus are damaged and over time the tissue changes to resemble tissue of the intestine.

Barrett's esophagus is a complication of GERD. In fact, about 10% of people with chronic GERD symptoms will develop Barrett's esophagus.

If you have chronic GERD, an endoscopy should be done to check for Barrett's esophagus. This is a pre-cancerous condition and a very small percentage of patients with Barrett’s esophagus will develop esophageal cancer. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, your physician will closely monitor your condition. Treatment consists of acid suppression medications and endoscopic monitoring.


Some people with Barrett's esophagus have no signs or symptoms. Many people will experience symptoms related to acid reflux, which could include:

  • Frequent heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Chest pain
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • A dry cough