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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Barrett esophagus

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Barrett syndrome
  • Barrett ulcer
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Chronic peptic ulcer and esophagitis syndrome
  • Columnar-like esophagus
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

What are the dietary recommendations for individuals with Barrett esophagus?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What are the dietary recommendations for people with Barrett esophagus?

People with Barrett esophagus are typically counseled to eat a diet that eases the signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause further damage to the esophagus. For example, it is often recommended that affected people avoid foods and beverages that may trigger their symptoms. For many people, these include:[1][2]
  • Caffeine
  • Spicy, fried or fatty foods
  • Chocolate
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Citrus fruits or juices
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Vinegar
  • Aspirin
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

People with Barrett esophagus may also need to decrease the size of portions at mealtime, avoid eating three hours prior to bedtime, and lose weight (if overweight).[1][2]
Last updated: 7/13/2015

How might Barrett esophagus be treated?

The treatment of Barrett esophagus largely depends on the severity of the condition as determined by the level of dysplasia seen on biopsy. In people with no dysplasia or low-grade dysplasia, treatment is often focused on easing the signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause further damage to the esophagus. This may include certain medications and lifestyle modifications such as avoiding smoking; eliminating food and drinks that trigger heartburn; raising the head of the bed while sleeping; and/or avoiding late night snacking. Periodic endoscopy may also be recommended to monitor Barrett esophagus as other treatments may be indicated if the condition advances.[1][2]

Because high-grade dysplasia is thought to be the final step before cells change into esophageal cancer, more aggressive treatments are typically recommended. These may include:[1][3][[2]
  • Endoscopic resection - an endoscope is used to remove damaged cells
  • Endoscopic ablative therapies - different techniques such as photodynamic therapy or radiofrequency ablation are used to destroy the dysplasia in the esophagus. In photodynamic therapy, abnormal cells are destroyed by making them sensitive to light, while radiofrequency ablation uses heat to remove abnormal esophagus tissue.
  • Surgery - the damaged part of the esophagus is removed and the remaining portion is attached to the stomach

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases' (NIDDK) Web site offers more specific information on the treatment and management of Barret esophagus. Please click on the link to access this resource.
Last updated: 7/10/2015

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Barrett syndrome
  • Barrett ulcer
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Chronic peptic ulcer and esophagitis syndrome
  • Columnar-like esophagus
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.