Patient Comments: Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with achalasia.

Comment from: Acha, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 02

I hope a couple of these tips help someone. I was finally diagnosed with achalasia 15 years ago, after three years of choking/vomiting after I fell asleep, and my throat got to the size of a pinhole. I told my doctor that something had to be done. In the final month, I lost 45 pounds because I couldn't swallow anything. My surgeon cut out a long muscle that I grew over time due to this. I've had endoscopies but they didn't help. The achalasia was not fixed. I've found that drinking hot liquid before I take medications or eat in the morning, helps open up the esophagus. I must have water with no ice, or milk with anything I eat or I cannot swallow it. I cannot swallow ice cold liquids or ice cream without something to drink with it. I have to burp and intentionally swallow food/liquid. I've slept in a recliner for 15 years, which gives me a good night's sleep without choking/vomiting. I bring a portable lawn furniture rocker/recliner to hotels with me to sleep in. There are worse things to live with, so this is how it is and it's okay.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Peter, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 21

I had the achalasia surgery 10 years ago. There was immediate relief after the surgery. There were little to no side effects from the surgery. It was a very successful operation. I still have problem swallowing, however, it is only sometimes that I regurgitate my food. Some foods are worse than others. I find that it is very important that I go through a ritual before eating. My body has to be ready and prepared for my first mouthful. I do this by smelling the food, perhaps have a sip of water and only nibble a little bit of the food and try not to swallow it. The longer you chew without swallowing the better prepared your esophagus seem to be. If I walk past when my wife is preparing food and just take a piece of something and put it in my mouth I will almost certainly go through a choking process. It is not good to eat dry chicken, potato that is not mashed, rice, or hard boiled eggs. It really is a case of managing the condition. From time to time I return to my surgeon to have a dilatation of my esophagus which gives some temporary relief. Overall I would advise people with the condition to have the operation.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: ccruce, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I was admitted to the hospital on July 2, 2016 because I was choking on a piece of bread. This is the second time my airway was blocked by food or even a mucus plug. They diagnosed me with achalasia but my esophagus is dilated so they will have to do surgery now. I am afraid because I never heard of this before now.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: msmith, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

I've recently been diagnosed with achalasia, but my symptoms are not anywhere near as bad as what I'm reading on here. I have heartburn and regurgitation when lying down some nights (waking up choking) and sometimes have the feeling of a lump in my throat. I've never had trouble swallowing food or liquids yet. I'm scheduled to have surgery in a week and am now wondering if I should hold off until my symptoms are worse.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: ef, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I was diagnosed with achalasia and had my first surgery by the time I was 7 years old. I had another surgery at age 14. I have mobility and sphincter problems. The doctors were very surprised to see someone of such a young age to suffer with this. This is something I continue to deal with on a daily basis. Rice, pasta and breads are very hard for me. I am on a daily medicine for acid reflux and it also helps to repair any esophagus damage.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: goldfish, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 29

Hubby was diagnosed with achalasia on the 29th of January 2016 with aspiration pneumonia. They did the endoscopy 3 times, the 4th attempt was with Botox injection (2/15/16). Tight muscles opened up and released the food through the stomach. He's on a feeding tube since the 3rd of February. He came home from rehabilitation on March 23 and back to the emergency room on 25th. Unfortunately his esophagus is clogged again and they did the endoscopy. Today, the motility nurse will check his esophagus and start from there. He was told that he might need a surgery. I'm so worried about him because he is diabetic.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: BTL, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I began developing symptoms of achalasia over about an 18 month period. Mine became so bad that I could barely consume clear liquids standing up. I lost 40 pounds and would wake almost every night choking on food, liquid or just saliva. It took me a couple of months to get the Heller myotomy with Dor fundoplication. Since the operation, a little over two years ago, I can eat almost normally and can sleep lying down without problem. I still need to watch what I eat, eat slow, drink lots of liquids with my meals, and occasionally struggle to get food down when I fail to do what I just described. I can eat pretty much everything if I just take my time, chew it well and drink liquids with it. All in all, it gave me my life back. Any side effects, like mild nausea on occasion, are nothing; they can't be easily handled. You are never cured of this, but you can certainly control it and live a pretty normal life. Don't be afraid to have the surgery, it is short, easy and quick recovery. Don't put off getting the surgery, you will only kick yourself later if you wait.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

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?

Patient Comments are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on MedicineNet. The opinions expressed in the comments section are of the author and the author alone. MedicineNet does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Alert If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors