Patient Comments: Achalasia - Causes

What was the cause of your achalasia?

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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Comment from: gr8cape, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 15

I had minor symptoms of achalasia (trouble swallowing) since I was 8 or 9. My family would tell me to chew my food or eat more slowly...That really irritated me! When I was 39 it got so bad that I could not keep any food down. Everything I ate came flying back out, even liquids. Doctors were confused by my case because my esophagus was not enlarged but I did have the classic bird's beak. After two years of doctor's appointments I went a clinic and they diagnosed my condition. I had the surgery (Heller Myotomy) when I was 41 and have been doing much better for 10 years. I still will choke on pizza crust, thick bread, etc., if I am starting to get sick my esophagus will spasm and my face swells, and sometimes if I eat too late at night the food will move into my lungs and I will start coughing in my sleep, but other than that I can eat anything I want and feel great.

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Comment from: maddiebrasco, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

When I first started choking, then I started losing weight drastically, I was convinced I had cancer. They sent me for a swallow test, nothing came back. The doctor had to follow up, came back with blockage. I had more testing done then an endoscopy, which came back with possible achalasia. One more test was done and it was a definite. Now they wanted to do the stretching thing, I refused because I wanted something more permanent, I was tired of throwing up. I opted for the surgery which lasts approximately 10 years instead of 2 or 3. All this took about a year. Surgery scheduled and 6 hours later they performed a Heller myotomy, which made the opening to my stomach permanently open. There are risks to this. They said I got this because I had a bug and my immune system attacked it and killed the bug and my muscle and nerve system in my esophagus. So I now have a full blown achalasia. Not an easy way to live. When you think about how you take eating for granted!

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Comment from: dani81, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

After 8 years the doctors finally found out that I have achalasia, it was always mistaken as GERD. I'm going to have heller myotomy surgery done next month. I think I know what caused Achalasia in my case. I was depressed at that time and in a bad relationship and one night while I was eating I was so depressed I felt like I wanted to escape and then suddenly I couldn't eat anymore, the food stuck in my throat and that was my beginning with Achalasia. I lost so much weight in the beginning as I could not eat or drink. Then my doctor told me that if I lost 2 more pounds he'll put me in a hospital and I got scared so I forced myself to eat chocolate and drink sodas which was the only thing I could push down into my stomach.

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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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