Can Barrett’s Esophagus Heal


What Is The Best Diet For Barretts Esophagus

Your Health: Barrett’s Esophagus

There isnt a specific diet for Barretts esophagus. If you have GERD or heartburn, consider making the following changes:

  • Avoid eating large meals.
  • Have dinner at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Limit foods that trigger heartburn or GERD symptoms. Common problem foods include fried or fatty foods, chocolate, soda and tomato sauce.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Being diagnosed with Barretts esophagus isnt cause for alarm. But it is good information to have. Consider the diagnosis extra motivation to get GERD symptoms under control. Also, keep your regularly scheduled endoscopy tests. These two things will ensure that youre doing everything you can to stay well.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/23/2020.


What Causes Barretts Esophagus

The exact cause of Barretts esophagus is not yet known. However, the condition is most often seen in people with GERD.

GERD occurs when the muscles at the bottom of the esophagus do not work properly. The weakened muscles wont prevent food and acid from coming back up into the esophagus.

Its believed that the cells in the esophagus can become abnormal with long-term exposure to stomach acid. Barretts esophagus can develop without GERD, but patients with GERD are 3 to 5 times more likely to develop Barretts esophagus.

Approximately 5 to 10 percent of people with GERD develop Barretts esophagus. It affects men almost twice as often as women and is usually diagnosed after the age of 55.

Over time, the cells of the esophageal lining may develop into precancerous cells. These cells may then change into cancerous cells. However, having Barretts esophagus doesnt mean you will get cancer.

Its estimated that only about

Does Gerd Always Cause Barrett’s Esophagus

No. Not everyone with GERD develops Barrett’s esophagus. And not everyone with Barrett’s esophagus has GERD. But long-term GERD is the primary risk factor.

Anyone can develop Barrett’s esophagus, but white males who have had long-term GERD are more likely than others to develop it. Other risk factors include the onset of GERD at a younger age and a history of current or past smoking.

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How Is Barretts Esophagus Treated

Your treatment depends largely on presence of symptoms and dysplasia on biopsies:

Barretts esophagus without dysplasia

Having Barretts esophagus without dysplasia means your provider didnt detect precancerous cells. Usually, you dont need treatment at this stage. But your healthcare provider will want to monitor the condition. Youll need to have an upper endoscopy every two to three years.

If you have GERD, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to treat GERD. These medicines decrease stomach acid, which can protect your esophagus from damage. Lifestyle changes, like sleeping slightly inclined and avoiding eating dinner late, often help, too.

Barretts esophagus with dysplasia

Dysplasia is the presence of precancerous cells. Your doctor may recommend frequent monitoring or treatment to prevent cancer from developing.

Low-grade dysplasia

Low-grade dysplasia means you have some abnormal cells, but the majority arent affected. In this case, you may just need frequent checks to see if more changes occur. Expect to undergo an upper endoscopy every six months to a year. Ablation therapy is also recommended in select patients.

High-grade dysplasia

High-grade dysplasia indicates a substantial change in your esophagus lining. With this diagnosis, cancer is more likely. You may need to repeat upper endoscopies more often to look for cancer. Your provider may also recommend treatment, which focuses on removing the damaged tissue and includes:

Natural Ways To Manage Barretts Esophagus

How to cure barretts esophagus

By Katherine Brind’Amour, PhD, MS

Barretts esophagus, sometimes called Barretts disease, is a condition in which the cells of your food pipe become like the cells of your intestines. Once the tissue has changed, you are more likely to develop a rare type of cancer, called esophageal adenocarcinoma. However, most people with Barretts esophagus never get esophageal cancer, and those who do may live with Barretts esophagus many years before cancerous cells appear.

Barretts esophagus is most often found in people who have had gastroesophageal reflux disease for a long time. Over time, the acid coming up from your stomach irritates the tissue in your food pipe and causes the change. Although many people dont have any symptoms from the change in tissue, they are likely to experience symptoms of GERD.

Up to 6.8 percent of people in the U.S. are believed to have Barretts esophagus. It usually does not affect children. In addition to regular checkups to look for cancerous cells, treatment for Barretts esophagus aims to manage your GERD and remove cancerous or pre-cancerous cells. Thankfully, you can also get GERD symptom relief by making natural changes to your diet.

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Foods To Eat On A Barrett’s Esophagus Diet

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that’s often associated with chronic acid reflux. And while you can’t cure the disease with food, following a Barrett’s esophagus diet may help you relieve related symptoms.

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Indeed, you can’t heal Barrett’s esophagus through your diet â currently, there’s not much research to show that food plays a significant role in either causing or preventing the condition, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .

But because it’s linked to acid reflux, you can change how, when and what you eat to limit the stomach acid that reaches your esophagus, which may help relieve symptoms associated with the condition.

To help, here’s a list of the best foods to eat and avoid when building your Barrett’s esophagus diet.

Who Is At Risk For Barretts Esophagus

People with chronic symptoms of GERD, including heartburn, laryngitis, and nausea, are at a higher risk of developing Barretts esophagus. In fact, about 10 percent of people with GERD will develop the condition.

White males who have had long-term GERD are also more likely than others to develop Barretts esophagus, as well as people who smoke or are overweight.

Learn more:

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Things Patients Can Do

Currently, there are no medications to reverse Barretts esophagus. However, it appears that treating the underlying GERD may slow the progress of the disease and prevent complications.Following are some things the patient can do to help reduce acid reflux and strengthen the LES.

  • Avoid eating anything within three hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco products. Nicotine in the blood weakens the LES.
  • Reduce consumption of fatty foods, milk, chocolate, mints, caffeine, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, pepper seasoning, and alcohol.
  • Eat smaller meals. Avoid tight clothing or bending over after eating.
  • Review all medications with the physician. Certain drugs can actually weaken the LES.
  • Elevate the head of the bed or mattress 6 to 8 inches. This helps to keep acid in the stomach. Pillows by themselves are not very helpful. Wedging pillows under the head tends to bend the body at the waist which can push more fluid back up into the esophagus.
  • Lose weight if overweight. This may relieve upward pressure on the stomach and LES.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Natural Healing for Acid Reflux and Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Do my lab reports show precancerous changes ? If so, what is the grade of my dysplasia?
  • How much of my esophagus is affected?
  • How often should I be screened for changes to my esophagus?
  • Do I have dysplasia and if so was it confirmed by an expert pathologist?
  • What’s my risk of esophageal cancer?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • Do I need to make diet or other lifestyle changes?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.

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It Has Also Been Shown To Be Safe And Effective For Early Adenocarcinoma Arising In Barretts Esophagus The Prognosis After Treatment With Emr Is Comparable To Surgical Resection

Dear Cancer Coach- Thanks for the great info! Ive had Barretts Esophagus for about 10 yrs. During EGD in Dec. 18 they found high & low grade dysplasia. I underwent an EMR April 2nd.

Im a little confused as to what they did I originally thought is was to remove some of the dysplasia. They removed a non-dysplacic polyp. Im thinking there was some kind of miss-communication between the two gasto-drs Ive been working with.

Im scheduled for a halo ablation July 18th.

I would appreciate it if you could help me untangle some of some of the confusion I have. IE: what did the EMR accomplish? Was it necessary? Will the RFA remove high grade dysplacia? Any other comments welcome!

Ive also been drinking a little aloe vera juice in the hopes that would help. FYI, Ive been a vegan for about 10 years. I eat a little herring or sardines every day in hopes of getting enough Omega 3s. Plus I eat flax & other seeds & nuts every day. I also eat turmeric with every meal.

Please let me know if you have any short-term advice.

Thanks again!! Gus

Hello Gus,

I am sorry to read of your Barretts Esophagus issues but my read is that you and your doctors are working hard to make sure your BE does not progress to esophageal cancer. I will try to answer your questions below.

I dont know what your M.D. said to you about the purpose of EMR but removing the polyp will reduce your risk of developing EC. This is good.

You are correct. HALO is a type of ablation.

The Big Question: Is Barretts Esophagus Reversible / Curable

Like so many Barretts patients who have come to me desperate and afraid, that patient from the story above asked, “If I always eat healthy and alkaline, can I prevent esophageal cancer?” The answer is YES!

I believe that Barretts doesnt cause cancer, but reflux does. As a matter of fact, Barretts is not supposed to be reversible, but it is.

Heres but one example: a patient from Seattle came to see me a year after she had been diagnosed with Barretts. She had been enrolled in the Seattle Barretts Esophagus Project, having been positively diagnosed. After she read Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure, she put herself on the strict reflux-detox diet for a full year. At that point, she came to see me and asked that I perform transnasal esophagoscopy. I did, and her Barretts was gone reversed with a low-acid diet and alkaline water!

Before discussing how The Dropping Acid Diet might be modified for people with Barretts esophagus, permit me to share my thoughts about Barretts. In the past, it was believed that people with Barretts had a 1% chance per year of getting esophageal cancer. It is now clear that that estimate is far too high and that progression from Barretts to esophageal cancer is uncommon.

The progression from Barretts to esophageal cancer is particularly uncommon in patients adhering to a good diet.

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Radiowave Treatment To Destroy Abnormal Cells

Radiofrequency ablation uses heat made by radiowaves to kill cancer cells. It is also called radiowave treatment.

Your doctor puts a probe down the endoscope. The probe creates an electrical current which heats the cancer cells to high temperatures and destroys them.

You may have this treatment on its own or you may have RFA after endoscopic surgery to destroy any remaining abnormal cells in the area.

These specialised treatments are not available in all hospitals across the UK.

Light treatment

Freezing treatment

Cryotherapy means destroying tissue by freezing it. Your doctor puts a small tube into your throat. They use liquid nitrogen to freeze the area containing the abnormal cells. The damaged cells fall off, so normal cells can replace them.

Foods And Drink Selection

Barrett Esophagus

When you have Barrett’s esophagus, some foods and drinks can exacerbate the condition. You need to avoid these foods or even completely eliminate them from your diet. Keep in mind that the foods that worsen your condition may also cause some discomfort.

Foods to avoid:

  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Citrus fruit and juices
  • Tomato juice

While the list of foods to avoid with Barrett’s esophagus seems long, that does not mean you have to go hungry. There are plenty of foods that do not have a negative impact on your condition.

Some of the foods that you can eat when you have Barrett’s esophagus include:

  • Apples
  • Water

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Radiofrequency Ablation In Barretts Esophagus May Prevent Esophageal Cancer

Treatment of Barretts esophagus with radiofrequency ablation appears to keep the condition from progressing to esophageal cancer. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Barretts esophagus is a pre-cancerous condition of the esophagus. It means that there is a type of cell called columnar epithelial cells present in the surface lining of the lower esophagus. Typically, the surface lining of the lower esophagus should only contain squamous cells however reflux of stomach contents, especially acid, into the esophagus causes these squamous cells to be replaced by columnar epithelial cells more similar to those found in the stomach and intestines.

Barretts esophagus can have different levels of whats known as dysplasia, or number of abnormal cells. In low-grade dysplasia, some of the cells look somewhat abnormal under the microscope this is a very early form of pre-cancer of the esophagus. In high-grade dysplasia, some of the cells look very abnormal under the microscope this is a more advanced pre-cancer of the esophagus than low-grade dysplasia.

Effective treatment of Barretts esophagus can keep the condition from progressing to esophageal cancer. But because relatively few cases of Barretts esophagus progress to cancer, many patients are not actively treated and instead undergo surveillance until signs of progression.

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Lifestyle Changes For Barretts Esophagus

Barretts esophagus, a condition in which the tissue that lines the esophagus becomes precancerous, is not reversible. However, there are effective ways to manage gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a condition doctors believe is associated with Barretts esophagus. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of Barretts esophagus progressing to cancer.

NYU Langone gastroenterologists may recommend lifestyle changes in combination with medication or other treatments, such as endoscopic procedures.

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Tips For Naturally Treating Barretts Esophagus

Barretts esophagus is not a fun condition to have. I know, because I went through it! And thousands more do every single year. In this article we will talk about tips for naturally dealing with this along with my own experience with certain tips! I hope you come out of this empowered and knowing that you have the ability to make things more comfortable for yourself. The ability to heal!

What is Barretts Esophagus?

Barretts Esophagus is when the cells within your esophagus start to look like the exact cells that make up your intestines. It can often happen when cells are damaged within the esophagus- usually from acid exposure from the stomach.

Very typical we will see this develop after years of gastroesophageal reflux aka GERD. It is so important to treat because in some cases it can eventually become esophageal cancer. But dont be fearful, less than one percent turns into cancer. But of course, it is important to be on top of it and heal as fast as possible.

What causes Barretts Esophagus?

Unfortunately its one of those conditions where the cause is not entirely known. It could be a number of things. We do know that this is often seen in people with GERD. So to say GERD is a top cause would be correct, but it wouldnt necessarily be the ONLY cause.

What causes GERD?

With GERD, it is thought that the esophagus cells become abnormal from chronic stomach acid exposure over a long period of time.

Tips for Naturally Dealing with Barretts Esophagus

6. Quit smoking

How Can I Prevent Barretts Esophagus

What is Barrett’s Esophagus and can it be healed?

The best way to keep the lining of your esophagus healthy is to address heartburn or GERD symptoms. People with ongoing, untreated heartburn are much more likely to develop Barretts esophagus. Untreated heartburn raises the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma by 64 times.

Other ways to decrease your risk factors include:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking, both of which can irritate esophageal tissue.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity makes you more susceptible to disease.

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Barretts Esophagus Prevention And Treatment

What you can read on this page:

  • What is Barretts Esophagus?
  • Why is early detection important?
  • What are the symptoms of Barretts Esophagus?
  • Why our treatment is different?

Barretts Esophagus develops due to chronic, severe esophageal acid exposure secondary to reflux. Barretts Esophagus is considered a pre-cancerous condition that can later develop into cancer of the esophagus. In this condition, the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus start to change as a response to the chronic acid exposure. This change is called metaplasia. When the cells develop dysplasia, cancer of the esophagus is a concern. However, Barretts Esophagus is fully preventable and treatable.

The Heartburn Center of South Texas provides cutting-edge diagnostic, treatment, and management services for patients with Barretts Esophagus and GERD. Our surgeons are highly-skilled in using the most advanced minimally invasive procedures and state-of-the-art technology to treat patients with reflux and Barretts Esophagus, preventing the development of esophageal cancer.

The treatment for Barretts Esophagus has been compared to the preventive treatment of colon cancer. Many lives have been saved by the removal of polyps in the colon before they progress into colon cancer. In a similar fashion, the development of esophageal cancer can be prevented with the removal of pre-cancerous cells and lesions in the lining of the esophagus.

Causes & Risk Factors

The exact cause of Barretts esophagus is unknown. However, there are several known risk factors that increase your chance of developing it.

Risk factors for Barretts esophagus include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease . The long-term flow of stomach acid into your food pipe irritates the tissue. Over time, that damages the esophageal cells and, in some people, the body turns them into cells like those of the intestines. This happens in 10 to 15 percent of people who have GERD.
  • In particular, large amounts of belly fat increase your risk of developing Barretts esophagus.
  • Smoking or being a former smoker
  • Being over the age of 50
  • Genetics, or a family history of the disease or esophageal cancer
  • Being male
  • Being Caucasian

Interestingly, there are things that may protect you against Barretts esophagus. Researchers dont know why these seem to protect some people from developing the condition. Possible factors that may decrease your risk include:

  • having a Helicobacter pylori infection
  • taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs often
  • eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and some vitamins

Other than eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and helpful vitamins, it is not recommended that you try to use medicines or get an H. pylori infection to try to avoid Barretts esophagus.

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