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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Barrett's Severe Pain & Reflux Problems Can't Eat

 babyblueeyes156 - Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:05 am

I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagitis with some irritation in my esophagus & stomach. Have had acid reflux disease for 5 years. From my understanding, left untreated, this can turn into cancer. How long would you have such a condition before something like that would happen? I have severe epigastric pain, my doctor doesn't seem to think it's related since all she seen on the Endoscopy was some irritation, so she thinks it's from IBS which is however being controlled well with medication. Most of the time, I cannot eat without getting really sick, sometimes it causes instant pain in my epigastric area. The other day I started having pressure in my chest & then started feeling the reflux causing the problem. Ate a steak meal later (served on a hot plate) which was obviously too hot, as I started having pain in my upper esophagus too and the pain in my epigastric area worsened. Woke up in the middle of the night having esophageal spasms (going all the way up in my neck) causing severe pain & burning in my esophagus & epigastric area. It felt like I was having a heart attack. Also threw up from the regurgitation (which was severe). And had alot of gas in my belly (not releasing). It was so bad, I was in tears. The only thing that has made a huge difference for me is Lortab, as I went as long as two weeks without eating nothing but some crackers before taking this, the ER gave it to me, but she doesn't want me taking it now, and so I have nothing that helps. I'm taking aciphex 2 times a day and just started an over-the-counter acid pill lacking much relief. And everything I eat is making me sick again. Since the spasms started, food seems to be getting stuck in my esophagus. Do you think the epigastric pain could be from the reflux condition or the Barrett's? Everywhere I read about it says that Barrett's doesn't involve any pain. But I really don't understand that if it's caused by damage to your esophagus. My gallbladder & liver was checked and it wasn't the problem. Feeling a bit hopeless here on getting any better. I am particially concerned with this reflux and pain being so bad. If it continues like this, what is the chance it'll turn into cancer? Thanks. (age 36, female, past diagnoses: acid reflux, hiatial hernia, barrett's, gastritis, esophagitis, sleep apnea, chronic sinusitis, fibromyalgia, past surgeries: hysterectomy w) bladder repair)
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:46 pm

User avatar Barrett's esophagus is a condition that results from chronic reflux. It can go on to cancer of the esophagus in a small percentage of cases. This process takes several years.

Effective treatment of the reflux very likely helps slow or prevent progression to cancer.

It sounds as if you are on the correct medical treatments for reflux (aciphex). Aciphex is a proton-pump inhibitor that is in a class of medicines that currently are the strongest antacid medicines we use.

In some people, medical treatment is simply not enough. In these patients, there are some surgical options to strengthen the "valve" to the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Essentially, the surgeons wrap part of the stomach around the bottom part of the esophagus to help strenghten the LES.

If you have not had a 24 hour pH probe, this is likely going to be a very helpful study for you. It measures the amount of time you reflux in a 24 hour day. If it is quite high you may consider talking with a surgeon.

Hope this helps.

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