Patient Comments: Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with achalasia.

Comment from: coco34, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 05

I was about 14 or 15 years old when I was diagnosed with achalasia. I started having pains in my rib cage area when I was about 10 or so. The vomiting started when I got to high school. My treatments started with balloon dilations. Then, I had part of the esophageal sphincter cut and removed. That lasted for about two years. I got really sick when I was in college. A doctor told me that my esophagus had enlarged. He said it looked like I had two stomachs sitting on top of each other. I developed aspirating pneumonia because I was inhaling what was in my esophagus into my lungs. My next surgery (I don't know what it's called) removed the enlarged part of my esophagus, pushed my stomach up so it was more in my chest cavity, and stretched and reattached it to my throat. I'm doing much better now. I watch what I eat so that I don't get acid reflux or heart burn, but other than that all is right with me. I am a survivor.

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Comment from: ferret4073, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: January 30

I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was around 7 years old, but since I was born, my parents have been telling me I was always throwing up. When I was 4, I told them that I had these pains in my chest. After about three years of being tested to figure out what I had, they finally said it was achalasia. They held off doing surgery to me since I was only a kid, but by the time I was 13, I had not been able to even complete a full meal. I had surgery, and it worked for about a year. Then I started having problems again. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it keeps on getting worse over the months. I recently had a test performed about a month ago, and they told me the food was getting stuck on the uppermost part of my esophagus. They said they could do nothing for me at the moment with the technology and treatment options available.

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Comment from: wood57, Published: January 30

I am a 52 year old male and had a myotomy procedure performed 24 years ago. It took 10 or more years of symptoms for my doctors to diagnose it correctly. The surgery has been very successful. Be careful of your weight gain; it's your biggest enemy. I have been following up with endoscopies every three to four years since the surgery. The surgery was very difficult to go through, even at a young age. It can be very frustrating.

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Comment from: sherbear, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I am 29 years old. In November of 2007, I started having trouble swallowing. A short time after that, I stared having heartburn. After months of going to the doctors, I was diagnosed with achalasia. I am going to have esophagomyotomy surgery in January of 2009.

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Comment from: TT, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 29

My mom is 55 years old and was diagnosed with achalasia about two years ago. We have tried various medications (allopathic and homeopathic), but they have not helped. Some of the homeopathic medicines give some relief when swallowing but only marginal. Mom had a balloon dilation performed about 15 months ago. It seemed to resolve the issue for about four months, but then the symptoms were back with a vengeance. She used to throw up regularly (foamy and watery vomits), about three to four times a day. Now the foamy discharge is gone, but it still pains her every time she swallows. And as soon as she has the first couple of bites, the sphincter jams up. She seems to have resigned herself to these symptoms, and we are trying to alter her diet with fluid supplements as she has lost a lot of weight over the last year. We are keeping our fingers crossed that her health improves with these minor adjustments to the diet.

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Comment from: Firetiger13, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

I'm a teenager who was diagnosed this year in mid-February with achalasia. I had complications of feelings in my throat and began throwing up the third month into the illness without knowing what it was. It was late July when they knew for sure it was achalasia. I couldn't eat, sleep or drink much. I was always light-headed, and losing more weight by the day. I had no joy or energy to do anything.

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Comment from: BMAC, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 29

I have had achalasia since I was 7 years old. I had an operation at age 11 to relax the muscles at the entrance to the diaphragm. I found I could then swallow if I forced the food past the constriction by swallowing wind. This can be quite painful, but it works. I am now 62 years of age, and I have had dilatations performed on a number of occasions with varying degrees of success. They only lessen the pain of swallowing; they don't cure it. The lower part of my esophagus collects the food like a second stomach, and then over a period of time, I can force the food into my stomach by swallowing wind and holding the wind under pressure while the food slowly passes through the diaphragm.

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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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