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Treatment Options for Barrett's Esophagus
Beneficial Lifestyle Changes Recommended
Ask A Healer Health Challenge Articles
How is Barrett's Esophagus Treated in Western Medicine?
by N J Howell
Reflux Disease / GERD Diet
Symptoms of Barretts Disease
This is part four of a four-part health report on a health challenge called Barrett's Esophagus, also known as Barretts Disease and covers medical treatment options and beneficial lifestyle changes. As a wholistic health advocate, I would take a different path with this health condition and that's another article for the future. Please read the beginning of this series on symptoms, risk factors and treatments - Barrett's Esophagus for a better understanding.
Medical Treatment Optionsfor Barrett's Esophagus
Current treatment of Barrett's Esophagus tends to be aimed more at controlling the symptoms of the pre-existing conditions, such as GERD or acid reflux. This is typically done through medications that block stomach acids and meds that
are designed to heal irritated tissues.
The following lifestyle changes can do a great deal to help as well:
Learn which foods trigger attacks and avoid them
Losing weight if overweight
Avoiding foods that typically cause reflux
Getting moderate exercise on a regular basis
Resting better at night
Eating more fruits and vegetables
Releasing cigarettes and alcoholic drinks from your life
Reducing the effects of over-stressing and worry.
Proton Pump Inhibitors or PPI's, such as the medication Nexium, are typically prescribed for this condition.
These types of medications work by reducing stomach acids. Nexium has been out long enough now for the reports to come in on potential issues with longterm use and the news is not good. Read about long term side effects of Nexium.
Histamine blockers are also sometimes used to help control symptoms of Barrett's Espophagus.
However, neither the use of histamine blockers or the use of PPI's has been proven to decrease the risk of developing Barrett's. The risks of using a proton pump inhibitor longterm should be fully explored with your doctor. A recent study showed that longterm use of proton pump inhibitors increases the risk of bone fractures. more on PPI's and bone fractures.
Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT, is a new treatment that is being used in cases of this health challenge, when it has progressed to the point that there are pre-cancerous cells found in the esophageal area. PDT was FDA-Approved in 2003 and is a form of light therapy that acts on one-celled organisms. From what I can understand, PDT is less a treatment for Barrett's Esophagus as something that can sometimes
reverse pre-cancerous cells and high grade dysplasia.
Endoscopic ablative therapies include radiofrequency ablation, which uses radio waves to kill precancerous and cancerous cells or Endoscopic mucosal resection, where the Barrett's tissue is injected, cut off and removed with an endoscope. Surgical procedures are also available for this condition but are more likely to result in complications than an endoscopic procedure. One such surgery, an esophagectomy, involves the surgical removal of Barrett's tissue. It's a lot more involved, in that the doctor then must rebuild the part removed from part of your large intestine or your stomach. Recovery time for an escophagectomy may be as long as two weeks. If diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus, be sure to fully discuss the risks and percentage of success for any suggested surgical solution.
Health Disclaimer: None of the information at the wellness library is intended to replace any needed medical evaluation, testing or treatment. This information is for educational purposes only. However, if you know you are at greater risk for developing Barretts Disease, because of your age, gender or race, then why not go ahead now and release habits that increase your risk? Get help to stop smoking and stop drinking.