Should I worry about Barrett's Esophagus?

Posted , 5 users are following.

I'm sorry if this question sounds silly or paranoid, but I'm just really worried. I know this usually happens in older people, and I'm only 19, but I have kind of had a life-long battle with acid reflux. I had it as a baby and was treated for it, but I also know I had it for a long time throughout my childhood and teenage years without treatment. I kind of thought my reflux was normal and forgot about it. That is, until 9 months ago when I developed a strong, loud, hacking couch that never stopped. At least 10-15 times a day I would have bad coughing fits where I coughed up a weird bitter substance. It has become a real nuisance to my friends at my dorm and a really painful experience for me. it soon got so bad I couldn't even sleep without waking up coughing and wheezing (not due to my ashtma, though). I have started throwing up in my mouth quite a bit and even when I drink water I have acid reflux symptoms. I am finally on some better medicine that is helping but I am really afraid that my acid reflux might have already done it's damage. It has changed my voice (it sounds much huskier now) and I cough and wheeze all the time. I knew the coughing had to do with reflux because it only started after breakfast. I guess my question is, should I be worried about BE and ask my doctor if I should be tested for it? If so, how should I present the question? I am afraid he might just brush it off as a silly fear, but I don't want to overlook something important like that.

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  • Posted

    Dear Sarah, there is no reason to worry. I'm from Iran, and here doctors say that reflux does not increase the risk of BE or esophageal cancer that much to cause worries. But, to be precise, my brother is 32, he had an endoscopy and his reflux was classified as at most Grade A. They said grade A reflux or less than that (hopefully) is not a reason for increased risk of esophageal cancer. I hope I have interpreted them correctly. I also asked a Gastroenterologist of Mayo clinic, she said she could not offer any advice without seeing the patient but she said "I can tell you in general term NERD (non-erosive reflux disease) is not associated with increased risk for cancer."

    Your doctor should decide whether you need an endoscopy in this age. Even here in Iran, they may not prescribe endoscopy for a 19-year-old. But if you ever did the endoscopy, ask your doctor about the probability of BE. I have heard the probability is low.

    Good luck, and based on what I've seen so far, have no worries!

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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah - I know how worried you must feel but you must not feel intimidated to raise the question with your doctor. Maybe one possible way to phrase it may be 'given my symptoms, how can I be sure I do not have BE?' If you do not get a satisfactory answer maybe you could ask to see a different doctor? I have also been told the MacMillan Foundation Support Line on 0808 808 0000 (Mon to Friday 9:00am to 8:00pm) are really helpful. Good luck and I hope you get the answers to put your mind at ease. 

     

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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah ,  yes in answer to your question u should get this checked out I had acid for a long time to the point and sometimes would wake up as it had come up and gone into my lungs which was so painful I now have been diagnosed through a scope having barrets and  a h hernia . you are very young as I am 57 but it won’t hurt to get a scope hopefully to put your mind at rest. Keep us posted and good luck but remember it is not a death sentence if you do have it but they can monitor it and keep u safe xxx
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  • Posted

    Sarah,

    I don't know that you should worry, but you should see a doctor. Severe prolonged acid reflux can definitely lead to Barrett's, so you need to take care of the problem. It could be that you have a hernia that needs to be repaired. You might also benefit from a surgery called a Nissan's Fundoplication that will control the reflux without medication. Don't let a doctor brush you off when you talk about your symptoms. If the first doctor does that, go to a different doctor. You're young, but not too young to learn to take control of your health and speak boldly to doctors. Doctors didn't take me seriously when I was in my 20s and suffering from reflux. I wish that I'd known then what I know now and been much more persistent in getting help.

    Good luck. Don't ever be afraid to speak up for yourself.

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  • Posted

    I had acid reflux when I was in my teens...later on O was told that I have HP.. They treated me for the HP. About 4years ago they said I have BE...

    I have had about 3 endoscopy...i had one this morning and was told that there is no sign of Barrett esophagus could that be possible?

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