What Is Barrett's Esophagus?

Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus (the muscular tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestine. This is known as intestinal metaplasia.

This condition causes no symptoms itself but is often found in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It also increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer in a small number of people.

About 1 percent of adults in the United States have Barrett's esophagus. The average age of diagnosis is 50 years. Twice as many men as women develop Barrett's esophagus, and Caucasian men are affected more frequently than men of other races. Obesity is an additional risk factor for the development of Barrett's esophagus.