Patient Comments: Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with achalasia.

Comment from: frannieangel, 65-74 (Patient) Published: May 09

I have chest pain from achalasia, feels like a chicken bone is stuck. Sometimes drinking extremely hot water helps relax it, and when I was a smoker, a cigarette would also seem to relax it. Now it is just the hot water. I usually have the endoscopy every 2 years, it is easy and does so much good.

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Comment from: AppleJack, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

I was entirely normal until about 2 years ago. I started having heartburn once a month, then once a week, then once a night, then several times a day and night. In one year I went from the first experience of heartburn to the most severe experience of GERD, a progression that seemed to take many years in other people. I started to realize that eating was difficult. And then more difficult. I told my doctor that I was having trouble swallowing and that I was vomiting. He told me I had severe GERD. I realized I hadn"t really told him how it was for me. I went back two weeks later and explained much more specifically how it"s difficult after I swallow, and how when I say I am vomiting, I am not referring to acid reflux, I mean vomiting, and he understood. I already suspected that I had achalasia after reading a book about gastrointestinal problems, but luckily, a barium swallow showed the bird"s beak. Next I will have esophageal manometry to confirm or deny, and I"m hoping to get a Heller myotomy or a peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM). If so, all this happened in two years.

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Comment from: Rastalife, 25-34 (Patient) Published: March 14

I had achalasia for 5 years. I didn"t realize it till I had had it for 2 years. It slowly got worse. It started with difficultly eating. I felt pressure in my chest, and soon after a relief as it passed through. I was wrongly diagnosed with GERD and was given an antacid prescription. Obviously that didn"t work. So I went back, and had an upper balloon dilation and that worked for about 2 hours. A month later I went back, again they did a balloon dilation, even though I expressed that it was unsuccessful. At this point it had gotten worse, and had been 2 years. So again I went back and described my symptoms. I can"t eat, I regurgitate almost every bit. I have lost 15 lbs in a year. The doctor treated me like I was some young kid looking for attention. I was 24 years old. Mind you I had no insurance and had spent over $3000 in tests and treatment. Finally they order a barium swallow test, that proved to show my esophagus was of it's rocker! Then one more test was done to show what muscle it was that was causing the blockage to my stomach. And I was rightfully diagnosed with achalasia. Now it"s been 4 1/2 years. My doctor referred me to a surgeon to proceed with a Heller myotomy. Thank goodness! I can eat again, it"s been 3 years since my surgery and I am still treated. My esophagus still is on the slow side, but no more getting stuck and regurgitation. I applied for charity help at the hospital that paid for my surgery. I hope my story helps. You can"t live a full life without being able to eat properly take care of yourself!

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Comment from: Seeker, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 04

There are about 70,000 achalasia victims worldwide and someone must have an answer other than surgery. I was diagnosed 5 years ago at 61, confirmed with a barium swallow (EGD), endoscopy and manometry and suffer all of the generic symptoms. The GI's only solution was a Heller myotomy. I've been relatively successful in suppressing most attacks with careful diet, multiple small meals followed with a carbonated caffeine-free beverage (e.g. ginger ale) with every meal, avoid chocolate, alcohol and several types of spices (e.g. rosemary). I had a remarkable experience last month. I flew to Las Vegas and spent 3 weeks there (from my 15 year home in Denver). For the duration of the visit I had no symptoms. I ate and drank normally without any problems that usually plagued me with the disorder. When I returned to Denver last week, some the symptoms have returned; but, I'm still able to eat and drink with fewer acute issues. And, I'm at a complete loss as to the reasons for the abatement; altitude, climate, water, gambling whatever happened to me may be the answer to curing this anomaly.

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Comment from: Charlie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I have had difficulty swallowing for about 4 years. At first it was rice and chicken, a favorite of this family. I didn't realize the food was stuck until the water I drank came back up. It was very distressing, but didn't happen too often. The last 6 months it has happened with more foods. I have found that if I drink tap water with meals it is much better than ice water. I try to alternate foods so that salad, vegetables and fruit help difficult things go down. The best thing I have found is warm/hot liquids - coffee, tea, soup or water. I was diagnosed last week. My husband does not want me to have surgery. I go back to see the doctor on January 21 to discuss the options. Reflux has been part of my life for maybe 30 years.

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Achalasia - Causes Question: What was the cause of your achalasia?
Achalasia - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with your achalasia?
Achalasia - Treatment Question: What treatment was effective for your achalasia?

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