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Treating Barrett's Esophagus

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Updated June 13, 2014

Currently, there are no medications that will reverse Barrett's esophagus. Treating underlying GERD, however, may slow the progress of the disease and help prevent complications.

The best treatment strategy for Barrett's esophagus is prevention. When people are diagnosed with GERD, their doctors will work with them on lifestyle and diet modifications and may suggest medications to control the acid reflux.

Lifestyle modifications to help reduce GERD symptoms include:

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • Limiting intake of acid-stimulating foods and beverages
  • Not laying down for about two hours after you eat
  • Elevating the head a few inches while you sleep
  • Maintaining a reasonable weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Not wearing belts or clothes that are tight-fitting around the waist
  • Taking any doctor-prescribed medications for acid reflux symptoms

Some acid-stimulating foods and beverages that should be cut back on, or out of, one's diet include:

  • Fatty meats
  • Fried foods
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol (excessive consumption, especially red wine)
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products
  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee
  • Carbonated beverages, such as colas
  • Peppers
  • Garlic and onions

A physician may also prescribe antacids, proton pump inhibitors, or H2 blockers to reduce the occurrence of reflux.

Antacids
Antacids neutralize stomach acid. These include:

H2 Blockers
H2 blockers suppress acid production in the stomach. These include:

Proton Pump Inhibitors
Also known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), these completely block acid production in the stomach. These include:

Look up more information, including side effects and drug interactions, for these or other drugs in the About.com Drug Finder.

Sources:

"Barrett's Esophagus" NIH Publication No. 05–4546 December 2004. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 26 Mar 2008.

Ijeoma A. Azodo, Yvonne Romero, M.D.. "BARRETT'S ESOPHAGUS." American College of Gastroenterology. 26 Mar 2008.

Kenneth K. Wang, M.D. and Richard E. Sampliner, M.D., "Updated Guidelines 2008 for the Diagnosis, Surveillance and Therapy of Barrett’s Esophagus." 2008;103:788–797. American Journal of Gastroenterology: Am. Coll. of Gastroenterology. 26 Mar 2008

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