Another name for barrett’s ulcers is esophageal ulcers. In a Barrett’s ulcer the patient has shallow erosions in the esophagial lining, usually on the lining present in the lower portion of the esophagus.
Esophageal ulcers are commonly associated with another ulcer condition called peptic ulcer disease, which refers to ulcers or painful sores in the stomach lining. Using certain medications for long periods of time can also damage the esophagus and in turn cause barrett’s ulcers. Aspirin is one such example. Long term use of other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs,) like ibuprofen and naproxen, can also increase the risk of this condition, as can long term use of corticosteroids in combination with NSAIDs.
Common symptoms of esophageal ulcers
Barrett’s ulcers patients show the same symptoms as the patients of other gastrointestinal ulcers. Symptoms include chest pain, vomiting, vomiting blood, nausea, weight loss, and pain in the upper abdomen.
You must immediately consult your doctor if you show experience these symptoms. Otherwise your condition can deteriorate fast and become worse.
Risk factors of esophageal ulcers
There are many risk factors of esophageal ulcers. Many of these risk factors in under your control like tobacco consumption and diet. Taking care of such controllable risk factors can help you reduce your risk of esophageal ulcers.
The following list of risk factors of barrett’s ulcers is extensive, and inclusive of all common risk factors, but it is not complete.
Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking is linked with innumerable health conditions. It can increase your risk of GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus, both these diseases increases the risk of developing esophageal ulcers.
Alcohol can cause irritation and erosion of mucous lining of the stomach. This in turn can lead to excess production of stomach acid and increase your risk of GERD.
Eating spicy food may increase the risk of damage to esophagus and, in turn, to esophageal ulcer. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and free of processed meat can significantly reduce your risk to ulcers in the esophagus.
GERD is a condition in which the stomach acid moves up into the esophagus. The most common symptom of this condition is chest pain.
Upward movement of stomach acid or acid reflux causes irritation of the esophagus lining. If the condition is not managed properly, it can lead to complications like esophageal ulcer and even esophageal cancer.
A complication of GERD, Barrett’s Esophagus is characterized by changes in the tissue on the esophagus lining. In this condition, normal tissue presents on the lining of the esophagus start appearing like tissue found in the lining of the intestine. While there is no cure of Barrett’s disease, it can be effectively managed. However, poor management of this disease can cause serious complications.
How are esophageal ulcers diagnosed?
Endoscopy is used for diagnosing this condition. If you show symptoms listed above, your doctor may recommend you to undergo an endoscopy to confirm the presence of ulcers. Treatment of barrett’s ulcers focuses mainly on taking certain medicines and following a healthy diet. Common medicines prescribed to patients include antacids and acid blocker medications. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.