Barrett's Esophagus | Normal Function of the Esophagus | GERD | GERD & Barrett's Esophagus | Barrett's Esophagus & Esophageal Cancer | Diagnosis and Screening | Treatment | Screening for Dysplasia and Cancer | Treatment for Dysplasia & Esophageal Cancer | Points to Remember | Why Come Here?
The exact causes of Barrett's esophagus are not known, but it is thought to be caused in part by the same factors that cause GERD. Although people who do not have heartburn can have Barrett's esophagus, it is found about three to five times more often in people with this condition.
Research has identified a number of risk factors associated with Barrett's esophagus:
Age - Barrett's esophagus is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults; the average age at diagnosis is 55 years. Children can develop Barrett's esophagus, but rarely before the age of 5 years.
Gender - Men are more commonly diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus than women.
Ethnic background - Barrett's esophagus is equally common in white and Hispanic populations and is uncommon in black and Asian populations.
Lifestyle - Smokers are more commonly diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus than nonsmokers.
Symptoms - Barrett's esophagus itself produces no symptoms. Instead, most patients with this condition seek help because of symptoms of GERD, including heartburn, regurgitation of stomach contents, and, less commonly, difficulty swallowing.