Patient Comments: Achalasia - Causes

What was the cause of your achalasia?

Comment from: Joy fr Phils., 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 26

I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 31 years old. I vomited more than 50 times daily and weight loss was significant. When I couldn't even take liquid I decided to undergo surgery (laparoscopic) at age 32. Unfortunately it was a failure after a month; while still in recovery stage nothing changed. I was very disappointed with the result. I suffered another 3 years then I finally decide to undergo balloon dilation. It took 3 consecutive dilations before I got a good result.

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Comment from: Jjim, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

My achalasia showed up when I was 28. I was under a lot of stress (some good, some bad). It does run in my family; my grandmother and an aunt had a lot of swallowing problems, so I think I was predisposed to it, and it came out when the big stress hit. I'm 48 now and have had one balloon dilatation early on, which may have helped some for a while, but I don't want to be on antacids for the rest of my life, so I have chosen not to get another or to get the surgery or Botox. I tried the isosorbide but had to quit when breastfeeding my daughter and found it wasn't really helping me after all. Now I get acupuncture, take an herbal formula called Formula 303, and take lots of B vitamins. I have found that keeping away from caffeine helps, also getting enough rest and trying to keep from getting too stressed helps. I want to be clear though. This is a physical problem. Don't beat yourself up thinking you are doing this to yourself because you aren't dealing well with stress (that seemed to be what the doctors were implying!). The acupuncture actually has helped a lot, but I am by no means cured. I have to pause at least at every meal, and sometimes a big "throat cramp" will prevent me from swallowing for days -- up to five days sometimes. I find that warm milk with a little sweetener is one of the first things my throat will open for after a long cramp; it is soothing. I also have found that eating a lot less meat is helping, especially in the evenings. My goal is to stop trying to eat any meat after 4 and just keep my evening food soft and wet, like soup or protein shakes. I hope this may help or encourage someone! By the way, if you choose acupuncture, make sure it is a good one, and don't be afraid to move on if you find one who isn't helping you. They are not all the same!

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Comment from: William, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: March 08

I'm 14 now and a month ago I got diagnosed with achalasia. The first symptom I ever got of it was a year ago walking home from school and having massive pains in my chest causing me to faint right there on the sidewalk. I don't know what caused it but I begged my parents to take me to the hospital and when I got there they told me I was fine. I see my specialist in about a week so maybe they can help.

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Published: March 01

I am a 62 year old woman and have had achalasia since I was 11. Had surgery at 13 to clip the sphincter muscle to allow food to pass into my stomach. I had lost 40 pounds prior to the surgery. I now take Prevacid daily to help control acid reflux. But I still get pain attacks with strong pain in the soft spot just below the breast bone. This pain sometimes radiates to my back and to my lower molars. Chewing gum and using a hot water bottle slowly bring relief.

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Comment from: Becky, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 01

I was officially diagnosed about 10 years ago after years of problems. Before being diagnosed I had a scope done and was on tons of different medications which worked inconsistently. My illness became so bad that I was on a liquid diet for about 6 weeks before having balloon dilation done for the first time. Within that year, my symptoms were back again and I was unable to eat or drink anything for a week. Again I had balloon dilation. It has now been 10 years and I have had issues on and off. I am always aware of my illness and never know when it will surface. I have now been having difficulty swallowing any solids for about a week now, waiting to see a specialist but unsure what they will do for me as I am currently pregnant. I am hoping that this will clear up so I can move on.

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Comment from: ballybrown, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 09

I started having difficulty swallowing food and water about 4 months ago. My primary care doc diagnosed it as Achalasia and referred me to a gastroenterologist. The onset of my problems came on very suddenly. I was involved in a rear end auto accident that caused me to have a very stiff neck for which I had physical therapy and traction. My Achalasia started around the same time. I have lost 18 lbs. and 5 days out of 7 I struggle to get and keep anything down - even water. I suffer with nausea also. My grandson was in the vehicle with me when we were hit from behind and he suffered a broken rib from the seat belt. Is it possible that Achalasia was brought on by the accident? I had no problems before the accident. I have taken 3 different tests but no treatment.

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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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