Hello and Welcome to the GERD and Heartburn forum. I am Kitt and I am so glad you have found us. Let me see if I can help you out a bit here.
Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the color and composition of the cells lining your lower esophagus change because of repeated exposure to stomach acid. This exposure to stomach acid is most often a result of long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — a chronic regurgitation of acid from your stomach into your lower esophagus.
Barrett's esophagus itself isn't associated with specific symptoms. But, heartburn and acid reflux — the sensation of bad-tasting liquid that may enter your mouth from your throat — are common indicators of GERD. And having GERD can lead to Barrett's esophagus.
A telltale sign of Barrett's esophagus — which your doctor can notice using a lighted instrument — occurs when the color of the tissue lining the lower esophagus changes from its normal pink to a salmon color. This cellular change, called metaplasia, is caused by repeated and long-term exposure to stomach acid.
During endoscopy, your doctor may remove tissue samples (biopsies) of potentially abnormal areas to be examined under a microscope. If specimens reveal intestinal goblet-shaped cells not usually seen in the esophagus, your doctor may make a diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus.
Following your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend endoscopies at regular intervals to screen for cell changes that could indicate progression to cancer. This usually means a repeat endoscopy one year after your diagnosis, followed by endoscopies every three years if no dysplasia is present. If a tissue sample shows dysplasia, you may need screenings at shorter intervals — at least annually and in some cases, as often as every three months.
Treatment for Barrett's esophagus may start with controlling GERD by making a number of lifestyle changes and taking self-care steps. These actions include losing weight, avoiding foods that aggravate heartburn, stopping smoking if you smoke, taking antacids or stronger acid-blocking medications, and elevating the head of your bed to prevent reflux during sleep.
People with severe GERD and Barrett's esophagus usually need aggressive treatment, which may include medications, other nonsurgical medical procedures or even surgery. Reference: Mayo Clinic
Remember the word in treatment is severe so if you are not having vomiting red blood or blood that looks like coffee grounds, passing black, tarry or bloody stools or experiencing any unexpected weight loss I think it is safe to wait for your appointment.
I agree it is extremely difficulty waiting for results and worrying about what does all this communication mean when you get the " no big deal attitude". Know we are here for you and I hope this has helped you in some small way.
Peace and gentle hugs to you
Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& Moderator GERD Forums
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Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
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