Barrett's esophagus (ih-SAH-fuh-gus) happens when the tissue lining the esophagus is damaged by stomach acid. The lining of the esophagus is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestines. More to Know The esophagus is a tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. It is separated from the stomach by a small muscle. This muscle opens and lets food and liquid enter the stomach and closes to prevent the food and liquid from leaking back into the esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is very rare in children. It is more likely to happen in children who have nerve or muscle problems. Many people who develop Barrett's esophagus have a history of reflux (when stomach acid flows back into the lower esophagus). Reflux may cause burning pain, chest pain, and trouble swallowing food. Doctors believe that sometimes reflux damages and changes the cells of the esophagus. Untreated Barrett's esophagus increases a person's risk for cancer of the esophagus. Treating Barrett's esophagus usually involves treating the acid reflux. In serious cases, doctors may need to do surgery. Keep in Mind The right treatment and some lifestyle changes — like keeping a healthy weight; eating healthy foods; not smoking; and eating smaller, more frequent meals — can ease symptoms and keep Barrett's esophagus from getting worse. A doctor may prescribe medicines that can ease reflux symptoms. Rarely, in severe cases, doctors might recommend a surgery to remove the affected part of the esophagus. All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts. Back to Articles Related Articles A to Z: Duodenitis Learn more about diseases and conditions of the stomach and digestive system. Read More A to Z: Gastritis Learn more about diseases and conditions of the stomach and digestive system. Read More A to Z: Esophagitis Learn about conditions that affect the esophagus and upper gastrointestinal tract. Read More Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Gastroesophageal reflux disease doesn't just affect old people who eat too much while watching TV. Active, healthy teens can have GERD too. Read More Pyloric Stenosis Pyloric stenosis can make a baby vomit forcefully and often. It can lead to serious problems like dehydration, and needs medical treatment right away. Read More Gastroesophageal Reflux When symptoms of heartburn or acid indigestion happen a lot, it could be gastroesophageal reflux (GER). And it can be a problem for kids - even newborns. Read More Digestive System Most people think digestion begins when you first put food in your mouth. But the digestive process actually starts even before the food hits your taste buds. Read More Your Digestive System The digestive system breaks down the food you eat. Learn how in this article for kids. Read More Digestive System The digestive process starts even before the first bite of food. Find out more about the digestive system and how our bodies break down and absorb the food we eat. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.