Patient Comments: Achalasia - Causes

What was the cause of your achalasia?

Comment from: attaboy, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 02

I was 23 when I first discovered I had achalasia. I don't remember any symptoms before it happened, though I'm sure there were some. I was out in the field, trying to eat a sandwich one day and it just wouldn't go down. I tried water, and it wouldn't either. After 2 days of not eating or drinking I went to the hospital. They performed a stretch on my esophagus and it lasted 2 or 3 days. I went back about a month later and had the same results. Finally I had a laparoscopic Heller myotomy on my 24th birthday. Between the time of my first symptoms and surgery I lost almost 50 lb. I dropped from 170 to almost 120. That's been almost 12 years now. I can eat about anything I wish, but I have to have lots of water to wash it down. I also take Prilosec almost every day to help deal with occasional heartburn. I avoid some foods that I know will set it off, but I can sometimes sneeze or cough too hard and get heartburn as well.

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Comment from: diane, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

I first experienced the difficulty in swallowing about two years ago. It happens infrequently but is of concern. I suspect the achalasia is related to some medications I take, specifically niacin. I wonder if anyone else has experienced a relationship with achalasia and medications. When I stop taking medications for a while, it doesn't seem to happen. It seems related to eating meat and usually occurs at dinner time.

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Comment from: zaini, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 18

Two years back I had a procedure to enlarge my esophagus using surgical balloons. So far my eating and swallowing is fine. After much searching for the cause, I think is possible because of my late night eating habit. Usually l eat and sleep soon after. My thinking is that after eating and sleep, the food is not digested and still has not flown into the lower stomach, thus when we lie down the food tends to flow back to our mouth. The natural tendency of the esophagus muscle is to close and prevent the outflow. As the habit before sleep food continues over the years, our esophagus muscle tends to get overworked and undergoes stress, thus cannot relax properly when eating, to allow food to go through. Some cultures have a saying not to eat before sleep.

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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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Achalasia - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with achalasia.
Achalasia - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with your achalasia?
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