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What is erythematous mucosa in the esophagus?

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Quick Answer

Erythematous mucosa in the esophagus is an inflammation or redness, or erythema, in the mucous membrane of the esophagus, according to Dictionary.com. When this condition occurs in the esophagus, doctors refer to it as Barrett's esophagus.

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Full Answer

In Barrett's esophagus, abnormal cells replace normal cells, according to National Institutes of Health. This happens because gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, has damaged the normal cells. Specifically, the cells that line the esophagus begin to look more like the cells that line the intestine. Because Barrett's esophagus does not have specific symptoms, it is important for the patient suffering from GERD to visit his doctor regularly to make sure the abnormal cells do not progress to esophageal adenocarcinoma. Although this cancer is rare even in someone with Barrett's esophagus, it is potentially lethal.

A physician diagnoses Barrett's esophagus after performing an endoscopy, according to WebMD. To do this, he inserts a flexible tube attached to a tiny camera down the esophagus. If he suspects Barrett's esophagus, he sedates the patient, performs a biopsy and has the tissue sample examined under a microscope.

Treatment of Barrett's esophagus includes lifestyle and dietary changes, says WebMD. The patient may also take medications such as proton pump inhibitors, antacids and H2 blockers.

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