Barrett's Oesophagus
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Quote debbie Replybullet Topic: barrett's mucosa
    Posted: 11 Mar 2013 at 9:21am
hi my husband had a gastroscopy on the report it said diagnoses barretts mucosa & hiatus hernia i know what hiatus hernia is but don't know about the barretts mucosa. Had biopsy done but sent home without a clue.He sawGP and he couldn't tell him anything about it. Just prescribed him with Omeprazol tablets 1 capsule a day. I would appreciate any advice that anyone could give me as he ie really worried and feel that  gp is as useful as a chocolate fireguard. many thanks. debbie.Confused

Edited by debbie - 11 Mar 2013 at 9:25am
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Quote chrisrob Replybullet Posted: 11 Mar 2013 at 10:52am
Hi Debbie and welcome.

Hopefully we can provide you with the information you require.

Barrett's mucosa, or Barrett's oesophagus, is a change to the cells lining the lower end of the oesophagus.
It occurs because it has been subjected to attack by the strong stomach acid and bile refluxing back up from the stomach.

Whereas the stomach and intestines are lined with cells that are acid resistant, the oesophagus isn't. The normal (squamous) cells have undergone "metaplastic" changes to resist attack by becoming like those lining the intestines. (It is sometimes called "intestinal metaplasia".)

The concern is that there is an increased risk of these cells becoming cancerous - BUT the chances of that happening are very small (less than 0.5% per year).

Your husband's acid reflux will probably have been caused by his hiatus hernia which will have weakened the "lower oesophageal sphincter" which is a ring of muscles at the base of the oesophagus which is meant to act like a one-way valve.

To manage the condition, doctors can prescribe drugs called "Proton Pump Inhibitors" (of which omeprazole is the most common) to reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. However, it won't stop the reflux (of non-acidic contents) and they are best managed by these lifestyle changes:
  1. Lose weight if necessary
  2. Avoid tight clothing that will compress the stomach
  3. Avoid exercises after eating that involve compressing the stomach or bending
  4. Don't eat for at least three hours before going to bed
  5. Raise the head of the bed 6 to 8 inches on blocks

Your husband should also receive regular surveillance by endoscopy every couple of years to look for changes (called "dysplasia") that would occur before any cancer would develop.

With medication and lifestyle changes, most of us with Barrett's manage to live otherwise normal lives and forget about the condition. (I've had mine for at least 19 years.)

You may download leaflets about "What is Barrett's?" and "Treatment for Barrett's" on this website by clicking on this link.

And from this page you may download a number of Frequently Asked Questions papers.

And you will usually get most of your questions answered here. We are not doctors but have lots of experience between us - and access to specialists when necessary.

All the best

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