Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

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What is achalasia?

Achalasia is a rare disease of the muscle of the esophagus (swallowing tube). The term achalasia means "failure to relax" and refers to the inability of the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscle situated between the lower esophagus and the stomach) to open and let food pass into the stomach. As a result, patients with achalasia have difficulty in swallowing food.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: KATHY, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

In the year 2001 I started having bad problems eating and drinking and vomiting everything. I went to doctor after doctor, no one knew. I had test after test, I had laparoscopic Heller myotomy with part Nissen fundoplication, and two years later I had an esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It kept getting worse, never better. Six months later I had a thoracoscopic esophageal myotomy on my right side. They told me I had achalasia and lost all my motility in my esophagus, so four years ago I had to have my whole esophagus removed, even my sphincter muscles, my stomach brought up in my chest and half my stomach made into a tube attached to my throat. I have never drank or smoked, or did drugs, it is a lot of challenges every day. I take a lot of medications but not one doctor can tell me how you lose all motility, they only say it is a muscle dysfunction of the esophagus. It has changed my life so much some days I eat, some I don't. I weigh 101lbs and never go over. So please stay on top of your symptoms, because it might be alright one week and turn just like that. I only wish a doctor could answer my questions; they just tell me I am one in a million to have all of mine removed. But as I said it's challenging every day.

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Comment from: Herina, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I started having difficulties swallowing when I was 19 years. No one had any idea what was wrong with me and I was given medication for sore throat; antibiotics, you name it! The last straw was when a doctor suggested I was suffering from heart break. I lost so much weight (at my worst I was 48 kg and am 5 ft. 6 inches tall) as I could barely keep anything down, even water without vomiting, and I would be starving most of the time. I figured if the problem was not physical then it had to be mental as some doctors had convinced me that it was all in my mind! After a visit to a psychiatrist, he sent me for a barium swallow and the radiologist asked me how long I had had the problem. I cried tears of joy because finally I was not a mental case, it was achalasia! I proceeded and had surgery to open it up physically and it was very successful and that was 20 years ago. To date all is well. I suffer occasionally from heart burn but if I keep away from spices, I am okay. I am thankful for this healing and hope that no one has to wait like I did for 10 years to get help.

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