Patient Comments: Achalasia - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your achalasia?

Comment from: joan, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

For years I was diagnosed with acid reflux but everything I ate came back up tasting the same as it did going down, and I could only eat a little at a time. I would get horrific pains in my chest. I finally figured out that the pain was in my chest. It was from gas building up in my stomach and not being able to be expelled through my esophagus. I found out that instead of acid reflux I had achalasia. They had me do a barium swallow and the barium went down to about my breast bone and no further. I also have trouble with constipation, which aggregates the chest pains. I have been prescribed omeprazole. I had an operation where they made 5 inch long incisions around my belly button and did something to my stomach. That was about 8 years ago.

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Comment from: Jojo, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 03

I have only got diagnosed yesterday with achalasia so haven't quite got my head round it. Two or three times a week I wake after acid has gone down my windpipe. The burn is horrendous but what scares me the most is the worry I will choke to death. I can't eat at all and even liquid feels like a brick in my stomach. I had barium meal x-ray on Wednesday and have just been referred to a gastroenterologist. I am not sure what first treatment will be. Doctor said my gullet hardly contracted at all and was one of the worst he has seen, which has scared me.

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Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 02

My first symptom was while eating white rice. I could not get it to go down, and I had terrible pain in the middle of my chest. I went to the restroom and leaned over, and the rice came out and the pain got easier but was still there. It got to the point after about a year that even water would not go down. I lost about 40 pounds. I had some tests done and was told I had achalasia after an upper GI. I then had mobility testing done over 10 times. At that point, I was sent to a surgeon and had the surgery to cut the muscle and make a new opening into the stomach. It has helped me over the years, but I've had to have stretching done about once a year to loosen scar tissue that has formed. Also my stomach does not empty properly and takes longer. Recently, my daughter was diagnosed with achalasia and is waiting to have the same surgery as I did. I did not know that I could pass this onto my children, but I do now!

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Comment from: Nancy j, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 10

For years I suffered with the reflux, gagging etc. it got worse and worse. I had all the routine tests and nothing was helping. Then I found a wonderful surgeon who suggested being tested for achalasia. I was referred to a hospital. The excellent surgeons there were able to finally help me. I underwent a POEM (peroral endoscopic myotomy) surgery which is done through the mouth and into the esophagus, thus no incision. I have been symptom free for many years now! Those doctors were knowledgeable and I will be forever grateful.

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Comment from: Zanica, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 18, 30 years ago and was only offered surgery as treatment because I would have had to have dilation repeated every few years. Prior to surgery I was only having liquids. Since the surgery I eat a normal diet. I do get heartburn from reflux periodically but I know which foods to avoid (oranges, green peppers) and just use an over the counter antacid. I still have to drink water with every meal to push the food down but this is fine and feels normal now. I am just about to start taking omeprazole (an inhibitor) due to the risk of Bartlett's esophagus. I would have the surgery again in a heartbeat if necessary.

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Comment from: molly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 13

I was diagnosed with vigorous achalasia when I was 27. I had the Heller's myotomy but after 20 years it was like I never had it! Even when I had it I got spasms like knives stabbing me for no reason. I have to have water and saltines 24/7, that is the only thing to stop it. Anyway, I am back to square one again. I became overweight after the surgery. If anyone ever knew what we go through! People act like it's nothing, I would not wish this on my worst enemy! I tried Botox, it worked the opposite and I already had the pneumatic dilatations.

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Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Achalasia - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with achalasia.
Achalasia - Causes Question: What was the cause of your achalasia?
Achalasia - Treatment Question: What treatment was effective for your achalasia?

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