Patient Comments: Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with achalasia.

Comment from: Diana, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I am 27 years old now and I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 24, three years back. I was pregnant, and that was the time I started experiencing difficulty in swallowing of anything. All along I thought it's the symptoms of being pregnant. Soon after giving birth in 2012, I lost weight and it has worsened. A barium swallow test said it all, then I went for a balloon dilatation which was a huge failure. I stayed like that for the whole of last year, until this year June when I went to see a specialist in and this doctor did the tests (barium swallow and gastroscopy). Two days after all the tests, I was booked for a laparoscopic Heller's myotomy. It's now a month after my operation and all is going well, I can eat and drink like a normal person. Please, if you are suffering from achalasia remember there is hope for you. Take it very easy and don't stress yourself. If you see any symptoms please ask your doctor for a barium swallow test; good luck.

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Comment from: Achalasia, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

At 16 I had issues swallowing, drinking and being able to keep my weight in control. My pediatrician told my mother I was focusing myself to do this and needed to see counselor. When I finally turned 18 I went to an adult gastroenterologist who was able to find out what was wrong with me for the past 14 months, in a matter of 28 days. After passing out for the second time and being rushed to the emergency room by my mom, I went in to the operation room weighing 86 lb. Now I am 19 and in college, after almost 2 years later I started getting those chest pains and too familiar swallowing issues. I know nothing was 100% but I was hoping for the best. I have gone back to my doctor and have an x-ray set up, so hopefully medicines can just help me. To all the new people finding out about achalasia, make sure you follow up on your checkups. Be happy and still enjoy eating and drinking. Don't let this corrupt the way you live, remember it's not the end of the world.

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Comment from: There is hope, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 30

I am a 70 year old female. I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 19 years old. After a year of symptoms, losing weight and finally not even being able to swallow water, I had the Heller procedure. I could swallow a lot better after this, but still had a degree of difficulty. Years later I started getting dilation, which helped a little. I was having this done every 3 months. My doctor finally told me in 2011 that he could no longer do the dilatation, I was at the end stage of my disease. My doctor referred me to a surgeon. I had esophagectomy surgery, where they remove most of your esophagus and part of your stomach is removed and then the stomach is moved up to your chest cavity and reattached to a very short remaining esophagus. It was a long recovery (probably because of my age, 67 at the time. I can happily report that now I finally can swallow like a normal person. No one can appreciate this more than an achalasia sufferer. There is hope at the end of this tunnel. Good luck to all of you who endure this problem every day.

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Comment from: Greg, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 21

I had achalasia for several years and was misdiagnosed by my primary care doctor for having esophageal spasms, based on barium swallow tests. It progressed to the point where I could not sleep, because I had to sit up and constantly cough to keep from drowning on saliva. I went to the emergency room (ER), had more swallow tests, and an endoscopy. I had a Heller myotomy about 2 years ago, and I haven"t had any problems. I asked about the fundoplication, because I was worried about acid reflux after everything was opened up, but my surgeon advised against it. He said he has had to go in and undo some of these, and I would not have any problem with reflux. He was right. I have not had any symptoms at all. Before, when I thought I had heartburn, it was actually food digesting in my esophagus and trickling into my stomach through a 1mm hole. My doctors were all outstanding. There was another surgeon who wanted to do a less invasive surgery with a shorter recovery time, but I found out that he could not make the incisions as good. I chose the better procedure. Also, I can eat whatever I want, but with meat, I cut it a little smaller and chew it a little more now.

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Comment from: Herina, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I started having difficulties swallowing when I was 19 years. No one had any idea what was wrong with me and I was given medication for sore throat; antibiotics, you name it! The last straw was when a doctor suggested I was suffering from heart break. I lost so much weight (at my worst I was 48 kg and am 5 ft. 6 inches tall) as I could barely keep anything down, even water without vomiting, and I would be starving most of the time. I figured if the problem was not physical then it had to be mental as some doctors had convinced me that it was all in my mind! After a visit to a psychiatrist, he sent me for a barium swallow and the radiologist asked me how long I had had the problem. I cried tears of joy because finally I was not a mental case, it was achalasia! I proceeded and had surgery to open it up physically and it was very successful and that was 20 years ago. To date all is well. I suffer occasionally from heart burn but if I keep away from spices, I am okay. I am thankful for this healing and hope that no one has to wait like I did for 10 years to get help.

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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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