Patient Comments: Achalasia - Causes

What was the cause of your achalasia?

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: KLCollins, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

I was diagnosed with achalasia about 2 months ago; the doctors were concerned that I was losing weight too fast. I had the scope test and upper gastrointestinal (GI) test, but after having the upper GI, I have stopped the vomiting so much. I wonder if the upper GI could have opened that muscle up to where now I've stopped the vomiting.

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Comment from: Donna, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I am 78 years old and have had achalasia since I was 43. The first gastroenterologist said I had a spastic esophagus and finally I was diagnosed with this condition. I had surgery on the sphincter muscle and 3 1/2 years ago had the Botox injection. Two years ago had the second Botox injection. Having this has been an answer to my problems. Surgery and muscle relaxants did not help or the effect did not last. Try Botox before surgery. It might help you. My gastroenterologist is very happy how the Botox has helped me as it doesn't help everyone.

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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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Comment from: carolbva, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I began having issues swallowing and gradually began projectile vomiting. I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and I had surgery. Swallowing issues gradually returned and several dilutions were done. Problems increased. In 2004 I was diagnosed with achalasia. Tests revealed the original surgery was badly botched resulting in a large "pouch" on the side of my esophagus and achalasia. Immediate surgery was required to avoid a ruptured esophagus. A Heller myotomy among other things were performed, the hernia repaired, and a teflon mesh applied to the esophagus to ensure the pouch never returned. There was a 20% chance the achalasia would disappear. Unfortunately it has not. Prilosec OTC is the drug of choice and every few years I go in for a dilatation. I drink lots of water to encourage food to go down. I still can't eat steak but pork chops go down fine! The second surgery has caused severe scar tissue and nerve pain now because the nerves have finally begun growing back together. Even so, I encourage all of you to check out a top notch cardiothoracic surgeon to see if possibly surgery is an option.

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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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