Patient Comments: Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with achalasia.

Comment from: dreamingofchewing, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I am a 44 year old female recently diagnosed with achalasia. I find drinking or swallowing anything including the saliva caused by gums/throat drops/candies worsens and extends the bad situation. Cough drops are great for dry or irritated throat due to short term illnesses, not a stuffed esophagus.

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Comment from: lizhjohn, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 30

I have had difficulty in swallowing for some time. My gastroenterologist discovered achalasia before I even became aware of it after having an Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Once a year they stretch my sphincter ring as I understand, during a yearly endoscopy. I also have GERD, not sure why. I take medicine for GERD but not for the swallowing. I had numerous tests last year, one of which was the Barium swallowing test. I had developed a severe cough that at the time could not be controlled.

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Comment from: Dan, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 16

Sixteen years ago I progressed to a stage where I could not eat a meal, drink liquids without regurgitating them. I would wake up at night coughing due to liquid/food going into my lungs. I could not go out for dinner unless I could find a table near a toilet, when the food and liquid came up I had to move fast to prevent it from being expelled all over the floor. I went to a surgeon who did a barium meal (swallow) and a scope test. He identified it as achalasia. The decision was to use the balloon, which was followed up 3 months later with another expansion. Although I am not a 100 percent cured, I have modified what I eat and how fast I eat. No starchy foods such as bread, potatoes and even chicken. No fizzy drinks. I eat slowly, I used to be one of the first people at the table to finish my meal, now I am always the last. I always have a glass of water at ambient temperature, with each meal. I eat my evening meal early followed by a cup of tea, this seems to aid passing the food through the narrow opening. The top of the bed where my pillow is, is raised by 3 cm. With these changes I have no problem sleeping due to food flowing back up the esophagus.

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Comment from: Miguel, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 04

I had been suffering with achalasia for a few years, and in the last year it has gotten worse. I could not sleep normally due to severe coughing that was caused by fluid in the esophagus entering in my lungs. I lost over 50 pounds over 6 months. I was afraid to eat due to the regurgitating. I went to the gastrointestinal doctors and they informed me that the best procedure to perform was to have the operation to cut the muscle and use part of my stomach to repair the esophagus. My surgeon performed a laparoscopic surgery. I was home the next day and return to work in 3 weeks. I am eating sensible and enjoying my life.

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Comment from: Butterfly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I have had my esophagus stretched three times now and felt some temporary relief from achalasia. I have lost weight quickly and it sometimes feels like fluid is going in my lungs at night, this is a very scary and painfully exhausting problem. My doctor just keeps telling me there is scar tissue in my esophagus. I noticed the problem developing after a neck injury from a car accident 5 years ago but it was never proven related. I am sorry for everyone that suffers with this problem I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

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Comment from: bobby$m, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I was first diagnosed with achalasia when I was 29. It did not take long for me to be diagnosed (about 2 months) after the normal tests. I had a bougie and two dilatations without any success. I lived with the situation for 7 years losing a bunch of weight. I was able to push the food down with tons of water. I also found that walking around helped sometimes. I also took Procardia to help relax the sphincter muscle that helped some of the time. I found that a cocktail or two before dinner also helped (when I did drink). In 1992 I woke up with chest pain one morning. I went to my doctor who ordered a chest x-ray. My esophagus was totally expanded. I was referred to a new gastroenterologist who told me to use the Procardia under my tongue. That gave me relief. He performed a dilatation that helped me for 23 years. I gained a bunch of weight (too much actually). I have had recent problems. He tried the botulism therapy, but it did not work. It has been getting worse and I had a new bunch of tests. I now have stage 4 achalasia and they are going to do a Heller myotomy. They may have to do an esophagectomy. Don't wait to do the myotomy. It could help to avoid my situation. I thought everything was okay, but my esophagus was expanding without me knowing. I find that room temperature water helps, carbonated liquids help (like club soda) at night.

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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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