Patient Comments: Achalasia - Causes

What was the cause of your achalasia?

Comment from: terrier, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 26

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Comment from: eva, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I am an 82 year old woman. I was 19 when my first achalasia symptoms appeared. I woke one night with upsurge of acid. My pain was so severe my mother called the doctor, who came to the house at 1 am (yes, doctors made house calls then). I was referred to specialists, who included a psychiatric evaluation under Pentothal! The surgeon made diagnosis after endoscopy and removal of strands of cabbage. I have had numerous dilatations since then, plus Heller myotomy. These days the dilatations include injection of Botox into the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). I know the body eventually rejects this toxin and am still looking for an alternative relaxant. In 2011 I had a severe spasm after eating. Luckily my brother, an anesthesiologist, was visiting. He gave me an intravenous injection of Buscopan (hyoscine butylbromide) which relieved the spasm in minutes.

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Comment from: nana harry, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

I had a heart stent put in in April. Two weeks later I was admitted to the hospital after having a severe drug reaction to simvastatin causing a horrible rash. I was taking the Benadryl constantly and after 5 days I was so dehydrated, I went in after falling flat on my face at work. My blood pressure (BP) was so low that I could barely move without falling. While there (next morning) I could not swallow anything including water, felt like a blockage in my throat and chest. Gastroenterologist was called in Saturday and EDG scheduled for Monday. I coughed and spit up all weekend, nothing would go down, got IV medicines and supplements for vomiting, but nothing helped. I had barium swallow on Saturday which indicated possible achalasia, EGD on Monday showed impaction and food was removed. Now in trying to think when this all started, I remember having a knee replacement 10 years ago and the exact same thing happened, couldn't swallow, got IV medications, and eventually improved. Since then I frequently have had bouts where I have had to make myself throw up to get relief. I haven't had the projectile vomiting, but I do need to sleep on elevated pillows at night or I cough profusely. I try not to eat 3-4 hours before bedtime. However I still eat regular food just smaller amounts and several meals rather than one big one. I can't get the test to confirm because of the heart stent and being on Plavix and ASA (acetylsalicylic acid), so I don't know to what extent I have it. I am 71 so I guess I have had this about 10 good years, hopefully I will be able to handle this disease instead of letting it get the best of me. Add to that I have been diagnosed as having autoimmune disease (POTS), and on medications to help control BP which causes syncope (fallen several times). I just wonder if all of this is related as I considered myself pretty healthy till all of this came to a head recently. I never took medicines for anything and never put a lot of value on gastrointestinal symptoms (told I just had GERD) till this event occurred recently and diagnosis was made.

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Comment from: dropdeadfredgreen, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

It took 6 years for me to be diagnosed with achalasia and I know I was either born this way or developed this disease sometime in my youth. My doctor first prescribed acid reflux pills and lifting the head of my bed 8 inches and then telling me to relax and it was in my head. He tried to put me on anti-depressants, which I did not want to take. So I searched and found a new doctor and finally was diagnosed with achalasia and had my laparoscopic Heller myotomy in 2000. Although this is still not a cure, I can eat without regurgitating my food anymore and I just came across Unjury protein powders and now I can finally get the protein I need without the struggle of choking on meat and cold dairy that makes me gasp in pain.

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Comment from: lhuhn, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 27

I have had the bouts for about 8 years now with food getting stuck, and then finally going down, or until I make myself throw up. I have had 6 children and had 2 dilatations done to my esophagus. The doctor just told me that I will have to deal with this forever because it is due to having kids and I have a hernia and no surgery can be done. Now I am wondering if I have achalasia and there is something that can be done. I am to the stage of choking on soft foods and sometimes a drink if I drink too quickly. When it is stuck I feel like I have to burp but that does not help. I think that is a mind thing because my body is trying to pass the food down to my stomach. It is very painful and I usually walk around and feel like I am going to lose my mind. The choking is to the point that it is hard for me to go out to eat with my family or eating within a group of people at work. I stress over it wondering if it will go down or will I have to run to the bathroom to expel the food. I am hoping to do a little more research and find the best solution for my issues. I did notice that my air intake must be connected in some way because when I did get the dilatation process done I noted that I could breathe better.

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Patient Comments

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Achalasia - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with 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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