Patient Comments: Achalasia - Treatment

Question:

What treatment was effective for your achalasia? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Sara C, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I have been dealing with achalasia for about 5 years. It has been successfully treated with Botox injections and my own food preparations. Most of my diet consists of smoothies. I went a whole year without Botox because of my diet. I use ground flax seeds or chia seeds in my smoothies to add nutrition. I also eat lots of smashed avocados with a little bit of mayonnaise, lime and applesauce. I do many fruit smoothies using a NutriBullet and blender. I buy powdered barley life, red beets and carrots from the AIM Company. I also add greens to smoothies. I also enjoy blended soups which I make with a variety of organic vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini and broth. Sometimes I saute the vegetables in olive oil and add a splash of milk. I keep trying new things to eat, like Malt-O-Meal for breakfast, puddings, kefer, yogurt, and egg salad. It is somewhat trial and error, but I have found if the food is smooth it goes down fairly well. I drink lots of water and green tea! Good luck to you.

Comment from: abh, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 01

I had Heller myotomy when I was 17. The achalasia was attributed to stress of high performing teen; surgery was done by a thoracic surgeon. The condition returned at age 45, and it has been controlled with dilatations and recently Botox, lasting 6 months. Gastrointestinal physician is referring me for consultation for POEM (peroral endoscopic myotomy) by a local specialist; unsure of possibility due to having had the Heller myotomy. I fear the progression in the future. At its worst, nothing passes the LES (lower esophageal sphincter).

Comment from: Sharon, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

I was diagnosed with achalasia in 1996 after being told it was all psychological. A Heller myotomy was performed, and I could immediately swallow much better! I still have heartburn, but use bread and water to dilute and soak up the stomach acid. I still have difficulty swallowing, but water or anything carbonated pushes the food down. I also have to burp after each swallow. Embarrassing, but there are bigger problems out there I'm sure. My biggest concern is the choking at night. If I eat too late, the food apparently doesn't go down and it will choke me at night. This is a terrible disease, but I am lucky that I can function somewhat normally. Others are not so lucky. Find a good doctor and surgeon, and don't give up until you are satisfied with your results.

Comment from: OhioCase, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 13

I was diagnosed with achalasia 43 years ago at age 17. It started suddenly. One day I was between classes and stopped for a drink of water. I choked because the water would not go down. Not one symptom prior to that moment. Since then I have had multiple dilations. Those plus nifedipine seem to help. Oddly, 12 years ago I started having general muscle pains and achalasia became worse. After 3 years, found I had severe vitamin D deficiency. Once I started taking vitamin D and drinking milk 3 times a day, my muscle pain and achalasia symptoms improved. I stopped the nifedipine and use water to move food. I cleanse at night by drinking a full glass of water at bedtime. Another odd thing, activity makes achalasia worse (gardening) and milk makes it better. Go figure.

Comment from: The Easy Solution, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

This sounds too simple to be true, but it works for my achalasia every time. When your throat is constricting, drink a small sip of soda, it works like Drano. Pepsi, Coke, and 7 Up seem to work best. Hope this helps you too!

Comment from: Induna, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: November 03

My wife has had achalasia since the seventies. She had numerous dilations. We have found a small sip of Kahlua liquor relaxes the sphincter every time she has a choking session.

Comment from: Jane J., 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

I have had achalasia for about 10 years and had the balloon dilatation. I have been very fortunate to be able to eat most anything but acidy fruits and I am not losing weight, sorry to say. But I do have the most terrible attacks in my chest from indigestion, so bad I have often had to go to emergency room and drink this pain killing gastrointestinal cocktail. But now I have discovered on my own this trapped gas and pain can be knocked out of the park by 2 Advil! And just trying then to relax and go to sleep. I don't know if this will work for everyone but it sure works for me every time to stop spasms.

Comment from: BaxRex, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 25

I was diagnosed with achalasia 7 years ago. The day before I was to have a myotomy I threw my back out. In desperation I went to a chiropractor. He adjusted my back and told me my achalasia was probably caused from my upper back or neck tightness, caused by stress, which in turn put pressure on my vagus nerve that runs from brain down to my gastrointestinal tract. He adjusted (cracked) my neck and I had immediate relief in my esophagus. The treatment doesn"t work as well as it used to but still works. Every time he cracks my neck (bi-weekly) my esophagus "gurgles". I still have trouble swallowing but it"s much better. I never did the surgery. Hope it works for you.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: ladycaramel14, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 01

As of July 25, 2013, I now know that I have achalasia. Surgery was performed to cut a lining between my esophagus and stomach, which unclogged a blockage between them. I am on the road to a slow recovery. I have been able to eat a solid meal since July 28. My weight will be monitored every day. The steroids have a noticeable side effect, which causes me to have an appetite, loss of sleep, and energy out of this world. I have several medicines to take to each day. Steroids and vitamins are to be taken every day. I also have what is known as adrenal insufficiency.

Comment from: Down & Dawn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

I was diagnosed with achalasia in about 2004. Anyway, I was treated with injections of Botox and balloon stretching, and had the traditional bird's beak. My first surgery was a Heller myotomy laparoscopic procedure. I was OK for a while, other than increased acid reflux. But it came back with a vengeance and was just as bad. I was unable to hold down food, vomited, gagged, and felt embarrassed trying to eat in public. Last year, I had another Heller myotomy and am having more problems with swallowing and vomiting in the night, along with aspirating food into my lungs. I have no clue what else I can do; just learn to live with vomiting? Or just sit up when I sleep? Because I can't help getting sick in the night, even when I don't realize it until I'm choking in the middle of the night. I don't want another surgery and don't really want to continue to keep vomiting and getting food stuck in my throat in the night. The doctors said the only next step was to remove my esophagus (esophageal resection). I don't care to live like this when I already deal with chronic pain in my neck, back, and knees. What else can go wrong with this young, but older body?

Comment from: Kitty, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: May 07

My husband has used Isosorb (10 mg) before a meal and has found it to be helpful.

Comment from: sunshine, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 19

I suffered for years with difficulty in swallowing, food getting stuck, and terrible chest pain – which I was sure was heart pain. After some time, I started losing weight also. My doctor kept sending me to have my esophagus dilated, which never did work or even help. My doctors finally told me that it was in my head and to see a psychiatrist. I knew it was real when I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for a consult. After three days of testing, I had surgery, was in the hospital for a week, and flew back home after a week. It has been almost 33 years, and I do take meds to reduce stomach acid, but overall it has been like night and day and I can eat anything. I still have to sleep with my head elevated so as to reduce acid reflux, but would redo this surgery in a heartbeat if I had to because it was such an overwhelming success. Be sure and start your search for help at a clinic such as Mayo – the best doctors are in these big clinic situations.

woman with abdominal pain
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.