Are you worried that the doctor said you may have Barrett’s esophagus? You don’t have to. It is true that Barrett’s esophagus is a risk factor for esophageal cancer, but that shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Your risk of having esophageal cancer would significantly reduce if your condition is well managed. The Barrett’s esophagus diet will do just that. It would prevent your condition from getting worse. There is even more to this special diet. It would also help you to control acid reflux. When acid reflux is controlled, heartburn, and all other forms of discomfort would be eliminated.
Barrett’s esophagus occurs as a result of prolonged acid reflux. If you have acid reflux for a long time, the cells lining your esophagus may begin to change. It takes quite a few years for this to happen. This cell change is what is referred to as Barrett’s esophagus. It is absolutely painless and harmless. However, it may point to the fact that there are possibly other cell changes that can cause cancer in the esophagus. Not everyone who has prolonged acid reflux develops Barrett’s esophagus. Only about 10 to 15 percent do. Furthermore, less than 1% of these people will eventually have esophageal cancer.
The Relationship Between Barrett’s Esophagus and Acid Reflux
Barrett’s esophagus occurs as a result of prolonged irritation of the esophagus. The esophagus is the ‘food tube’ that connects your mouth to your stomach.
Irritation of the esophagus happens when acid from the stomach flows into the esophagus. The flow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus is what is referred to as ‘acid reflux’.
When there is prolonged irritation of the esophagus, it begins to change. The lining of the esophagus changes gradually. It now becomes similar to the lining of the stomach and intestine. This change is what we call Barrett’s Esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus is not painful at all. In fact, it causes no signs or symptoms whatsoever. However, because it is closely related to acid reflux, you may have some symptoms of acid reflux. These symptoms include:
- Heartburn: You may feel a burning sensation under your chest
- Regurgitation: Contents of your stomach may sometimes flow back into your esophagus. Sometimes, it may even go as far as your mouth. It gives a sour taste at the back of the tongue.
- Difficulty in swallowing: This rarely occurs. However, when it occurs, it should be treated as a medical emergency. You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice that you have difficulty swallowing.
You may wonder why acid reflux occurs. There is a ring of muscle at the junction between your esophagus and stomach. This ring of muscle is called the lower esophageal sphincter. Its work is to prevent anything from entering the esophagus from the stomach.
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter becomes defective. The contents of the stomach flow backward into the esophagus. The stomach produces lots of acids. It is not affected by the acid it produces because its walls are well protected.
When acids from the stomach cross into the esophagus, it causes irritation. This irritation is what causes heartburn. Meanwhile, the wall of the esophagus will try to protect itself against this irritation. So it begins to change gradually to look like the walls of the stomach and intestine.
Not every case of Barrett’s esophagus is caused by Acid reflux. However, most cases of Barrett’s Esophagus are linked to prolonged acid reflux. It is, therefore, safe to say that prolonged acid reflux is the primary risk factor for Barrett’s Esophagus.
Barrett’s Esophagus Diet – Top 10 Low-Calorie Foods to Consume
The major risk associated with Barrett’s esophagus is esophageal cancer. But then, it occurs only in less than 1% of cases.
Many people choose to treat Barrett’s Esophagus naturally in order to reduce their risk of developing Esophageal Cancer. This is done with a diet mostly filled with low-calorie foods.