Barrett's esophagus is a serious complication of GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. In Barrett's esophagus, normal tissue lining the esophagus -- the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach -- changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. About 10% of people with chronic symptoms of GERD develop Barrett's esophagus.
Barrett's esophagus does not have any specific symptoms, although patients with Barrett's esophagus may have symptoms related to...
Do you experience hoarseness or worsening of asthma after meals, lying down, or exercise, or asthma that occurs mainly at night?
Are you experiencing unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite?
Do your heartburn symptoms interfere with your lifestyle or daily activity?
Are you in need of increasing doses of nonprescription medicine to control heartburn?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your heartburn warrants attention from a medical professional. People with long-standing chronic heartburn are at greater risk for serious complications including stricture (narrowing) of the esophagus or a potentially precancerous condition called Barrett's esophagus.