The Guru advises on exercise when suffering from Barretts oesophagus

January 7, 2016

Hi Guru

I’m asking this on behalf of a friend who wants to start exercise classes with me and I hope it isn’t totally out of your remit!

She has Barretts oesophagus, a severe reflux condition. She is also very unfit and has no core strength. She want to start exercising but is nervous.

Her GP has told her to avoid sit-ups. Is there anything else she should avoid if she were to do a pilates or yoga class, for example?

Thank you, Alison

January 7, 2016

Hi Alison

Poor girl.

There’s a fair bit that can be done that won’t irritate the BO.

Try to avoid stuff where she lying totally flat on her back or where her heads is lower than her knees. Avoid any sort of forced breathing out stuff or getting to (initially) puffed or breath holding/straining. Her GP is pretty much on the money.

Pilates (1-2-1) with somebody who understands the pathology would be a great introduction to exercising.

The Guru

Guru Responded
February 4, 2024

Mark has a follow-up question for the Guru, having read this original post from 2016:


Should I be avoiding lifting weights if I have Barrets?

I take meds for it and lifting weights doesn’t seem to aggravate it or give me heartburn.

Thanks, Mark

February 4, 2024

Hi Mark – admittedly I know much about BO but from what I’ve read it seems that as long as you don’t force the Valsalva manoeuvre when lifting (big) weights then I’d assume it’s a pretty healthy thing to carry on with.

There are plenty of benefits to your entire metabolic system when exercising so keep at it – take advice where needed and cross check it as required.

The Guru

guru-profile Guru Responded

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