Patient Comments: Achalasia - Describe Your Experience

Question:

Please describe your experience with achalasia. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Ollie72, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 09

I began experiencing achalasia symptoms in late 2012, first with breads and grains, so I attributed my symptoms to celiac disease or some new found food allergy. I sought medical attention through my primary care physician, and was only prescribed PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). This did little to help my overall condition. Over the course of the next 6 to 12 months I began to experience regurgitation and a complete inability to take in liquids, and I subsequently dropped 75 pounds. I again sought medical attention and was finally referred to a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist. By that time I had already self-diagnosed myself with achalasia, the GI specialist disagreed and subsequently preformed two EGDs but with no diagnosis or treatment plan. I then moved to another clinic, they listened to me and I finally got the testing I need, EGD, manometry, and then an esophogram. I am now scheduled for a Heller myotomy with partial fundoplication in a week. I urge anyone who begins experiencing these symptoms to seek a GI consult immediately, over the last 5 years my esophagus has stretched out immensely, I now risk an esophagectomy if the myotomy doesn't work. Don't go this route, be proactive and persistent.

Comment from: Nanny, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

I had the Heller procedure in 2006 for my achalasia. The surgery was successful in as much as I am now able to eat normally. I just still take care to avoid dry foods such as popcorn, and dehydrated fruits. Water must accompany all my meals. It took eight months of gagging up undigested food, also debilitating chest pain before I received a correct diagnosis. I'm thankful to an excellent surgeon who performed the surgery and gave me back a normal life.

Comment from: Toma, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 06

I was diagnosed with achalasia at an early age. Unable to keep anything solid down for years, it was finally diagnosed. I went to the children's hospital where they performed the balloon in an attempt to stretch my esophagus to correct the problem. This procedure did not work. My parents found doctors who were familiar with this condition and they did surgery to cut the muscle. The surgery did work and I have not have had any problems since. The only thing is I must just chew my food real good and always have something to drink while eating. I did wind up getting GERD but that is a small issue compared to not being able to eat. It has been about 38 years since my surgery and all has been good. The achalasia did not come back and I do not foresee it coming back. I highly recommend anyone to get this surgery if any of the options do not work for them.

Comment from: JP, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I have had achalasia for the past 20 years, I have had several barium meals, balloon dilations manometry tests and also had a myotomy. I have my second feeding tube back as the myotomy did not work. For the past 3 months I have struggled badly to keep food down and have it constantly sticking as soon as I swallow. I am going back to see my consultant in June to see if there is anything new I can try. It is very upsetting.

Comment from: DrLarry098, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 11

I have just been diagnosed with this awful disorder achalasia. It has been a nightmare experience, not being able to keep anything of a solid nature down and regurgitating solids all the time, especially at dinner time. My extensive surgery esophagomyotomy is scheduled in two weeks. The surgeon told me to expect 2 months for recovery, needless to say, I'm not looking forward to the surgery. I hope it helps, although the surgery will not cure my problem. It will be with me for life.

Comment from: dmurrell61, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 25

I have read the experiences posted by others here and they fairly well mirror my own. Diagnosed with achalasia in December 2014, I could barely pass solids or liquids into my stomach (although whiskey went down fairly easily). I was treated at the hospital. The first treatment was a Botox injection into the esophageal sphincter. This resulted in immediate relief. I was able to eat a decent meal that very evening. This was only a temporary measure though, as it only lasted a few months. In December of 2015 I had a balloon dilation procedure which also was effective; this time for several months. After about 9 months though, symptoms began to return. Two weeks ago (April 7, 2017) I had a new procedure performed called POEM or peroral endoscopic myotomy. As I heal I can feel myself swallowing much better and with much greater ease. I am prone to gastric reflux now however, but it is easily controlled with proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole.

Comment from: pleasehelp, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I am still testing for achalasia. I have done the barium swallow and the manometer test. The results show little movement of the esophagus and no relaxation of the stomach. I started having trouble swallowing in October 2016 and stopped swallowing solid food in mid-January 2017. I currently am down to 100 lb. and feel terrible every day. I am to the point that I throw up around 30 to 40 times a day and have trouble keeping liquids down. I am a middle school teacher and can barely keep up with my job and my own family. I like my doctor but each step is taking so long. I don't know what to eat and no one seems to care enough to tell me.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: bell2013, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 25

I just found out that I have achalasia type 1, on January 13, 2017. I go in January 30, 2017 for the Heller myotomy surgery. I am 29 years old and I have been fighting this since I was 27 years old. I cannot eat or drink anything. I don't ever get a good night's sleep because I am always choking on my spit so I am scared to go to sleep. And having this very rare medical condition that I just found out that I will have for the rest of my life has really put a damper on my life style. I am scared to go out to dinner with my husband because I am always running to the bathroom. Since all of this started I have lost over 150 pounds, and just since July 2016 is when the weight loss really kicked in. I have dropped over 100 pounds just since July 2016. I have been in and out of the hospital because of severe dehydration and not enough nutrition. I am also a high risk for a cardiac arrest because my potassium levels keep dropping because of this achalasia. Will my life ever go back to normal!

Comment from: Lynne, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

I am 62 years old. When I was about 13, I suddenly was unable to get my food to go down, and when I was in bed, disgusting though it may sound, my food used to regurgitate through my nose. The rest of the time I had a permanent cough, and was very thin. I went to my general physician (GP), explained my symptoms, and he said I had bronchitis, and that was causing the cough. He prescribed antibiotics. I went back several times and told him that I was still unable to swallow my food, and that I was vomiting the medication back up. He told me to 'go away and stop bothering him' and said we will worry about the indigestion when the bronchitis is cured. I did go away, and I never went back to him. In the meantime, it gradually got worse, and was so bad that I was permanently excused from physical education at school, as they could see how ill I was. I tolerated this until I was 18. It got to the point where I could neither eat nor drink, so I went to see a different doctor. He sent me immediately for a barium x-ray. I had one mouthful. I was told I needn't swallow any more, it was clear on the x-ray that the barium I had swallowed was going nowhere and I had achalasia. Within two weeks I had been operated on (Heller's myotomy). I was just 19, I had lost 6 years of my life, and now I had a 6 inch scar from just below the breast to my tummy button. But I could eat again! Unfortunately, as time has gone by, the hard tissue from the operation has caused further problems. I am now on 40 mg of Nexium per day, cannot lie flat as it causes acid reflux big time, have to drink a pint of water when eating, and am limited as to what I can eat. Every few days I have a real problem, where the food I have swallowed won't budge, and I end up throwing up. I have had so many dilatations, I can't remember how many, but am unable to have any more. I have had the Botox, which didn't help, and have gastroscopies regularly. One thing I will say, my consultant here has been brilliant, unlike my previous GP. I would describe achalasia as a very unsocial disease. You cannot enjoy going out for meals, or entertaining, dinner parties, etc., because you never know when you are going to jump up from the table, or leave your food. I never hear of any research into this disease either. Maybe this is because it's not a terminal illness, or maybe it's because it's rare, I don't know. But, I often wonder; if my GP had listened to me all those years ago, maybe it just might have spared me of the misery I have suffered for the rest of my life. I have made it known to my current consultant that I would be happy to be involved as part of any research into achalasia in the hope it would help towards understanding and curing this horrible disease. Thank you for listening to my story!

Comment from: Shelby, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I was diagnosed with achalasia at the age of 15 after 2 years of searching for answers. That was 35 years ago. I have learned to live with this disease every day of my life. I had a myotomy after numerous dilatations. I now have dilatations every couple of years because of scar tissue built up from the acid reflux. I eat extremely slow, drink tons of water and lately I have been throwing up daily and have a hard time just swallowing from sucking on candy. I have an endoscopy yearly for swallowing difficulty and cancer screening. All I can say is good luck to everyone affected by this. After 35 years, I'm still dealing with it daily.

Comment from: susan, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: September 07

Thank you everyone who has shared your experience with achalasia. My mother has this terrible disease and I have been doing lots of research. She has had the dilation four times, two over the last year. My mother now is unable to eat. She eats dry cereal in the morning and has lost lots of weight. The frustrations of this disease is when a doctor tells you northing can be done and you need to start over for help. My mother is 84 years old and has been in good health until this disease started stripping her of her liveliness.

Comment from: HK, 45-54 (Patient) Published: September 06

I was diagnosed with achalasia 7 years ago, after a few years of misdiagnosis and worsening of the condition till I could only take in liquid slowly. After balloon dilation, I kept taking Nexium but ate very selectively due to cramping or gripping pain or reflux of the esophagus and chest areas. I ate half of what I could before, and had less than half of my old energy. During the last two years, I saw therapies and started Zen meditation. Now I am still on Nexium, but less dependent, I would say meditation had done me wonders. I hope others could try it and get the benefit as I did.

Comment from: Acha, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 02

I hope a couple of these tips help someone. I was finally diagnosed with achalasia 15 years ago, after three years of choking/vomiting after I fell asleep, and my throat got to the size of a pinhole. I told my doctor that something had to be done. In the final month, I lost 45 pounds because I couldn't swallow anything. My surgeon cut out a long muscle that I grew over time due to this. I've had endoscopies but they didn't help. The achalasia was not fixed. I've found that drinking hot liquid before I take medications or eat in the morning, helps open up the esophagus. I must have water with no ice, or milk with anything I eat or I cannot swallow it. I cannot swallow ice cold liquids or ice cream without something to drink with it. I have to burp and intentionally swallow food/liquid. I've slept in a recliner for 15 years, which gives me a good night's sleep without choking/vomiting. I bring a portable lawn furniture rocker/recliner to hotels with me to sleep in. There are worse things to live with, so this is how it is and it's okay.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Peter, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 21

I had the achalasia surgery 10 years ago. There was immediate relief after the surgery. There were little to no side effects from the surgery. It was a very successful operation. I still have problem swallowing, however, it is only sometimes that I regurgitate my food. Some foods are worse than others. I find that it is very important that I go through a ritual before eating. My body has to be ready and prepared for my first mouthful. I do this by smelling the food, perhaps have a sip of water and only nibble a little bit of the food and try not to swallow it. The longer you chew without swallowing the better prepared your esophagus seem to be. If I walk past when my wife is preparing food and just take a piece of something and put it in my mouth I will almost certainly go through a choking process. It is not good to eat dry chicken, potato that is not mashed, rice, or hard boiled eggs. It really is a case of managing the condition. From time to time I return to my surgeon to have a dilatation of my esophagus which gives some temporary relief. Overall I would advise people with the condition to have the operation.

Comment from: ccruce, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I was admitted to the hospital on July 2, 2016 because I was choking on a piece of bread. This is the second time my airway was blocked by food or even a mucus plug. They diagnosed me with achalasia but my esophagus is dilated so they will have to do surgery now. I am afraid because I never heard of this before now.

Comment from: msmith, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

I've recently been diagnosed with achalasia, but my symptoms are not anywhere near as bad as what I'm reading on here. I have heartburn and regurgitation when lying down some nights (waking up choking) and sometimes have the feeling of a lump in my throat. I've never had trouble swallowing food or liquids yet. I'm scheduled to have surgery in a week and am now wondering if I should hold off until my symptoms are worse.

Comment from: ef, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I was diagnosed with achalasia and had my first surgery by the time I was 7 years old. I had another surgery at age 14. I have mobility and sphincter problems. The doctors were very surprised to see someone of such a young age to suffer with this. This is something I continue to deal with on a daily basis. Rice, pasta and breads are very hard for me. I am on a daily medicine for acid reflux and it also helps to repair any esophagus damage.

Comment from: goldfish, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 29

Hubby was diagnosed with achalasia on the 29th of January 2016 with aspiration pneumonia. They did the endoscopy 3 times, the 4th attempt was with Botox injection (2/15/16). Tight muscles opened up and released the food through the stomach. He's on a feeding tube since the 3rd of February. He came home from rehabilitation on March 23 and back to the emergency room on 25th. Unfortunately his esophagus is clogged again and they did the endoscopy. Today, the motility nurse will check his esophagus and start from there. He was told that he might need a surgery. I'm so worried about him because he is diabetic.

Comment from: BTL, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I began developing symptoms of achalasia over about an 18 month period. Mine became so bad that I could barely consume clear liquids standing up. I lost 40 pounds and would wake almost every night choking on food, liquid or just saliva. It took me a couple of months to get the Heller myotomy with Dor fundoplication. Since the operation, a little over two years ago, I can eat almost normally and can sleep lying down without problem. I still need to watch what I eat, eat slow, drink lots of liquids with my meals, and occasionally struggle to get food down when I fail to do what I just described. I can eat pretty much everything if I just take my time, chew it well and drink liquids with it. All in all, it gave me my life back. Any side effects, like mild nausea on occasion, are nothing; they can't be easily handled. You are never cured of this, but you can certainly control it and live a pretty normal life. Don't be afraid to have the surgery, it is short, easy and quick recovery. Don't put off getting the surgery, you will only kick yourself later if you wait.

Comment from: add2370, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I had initial symptoms of achalasia at age 17 to 18, in 1987-88. It was labeled as many different things, but never had an appropriate diagnosis until other symptoms began to appear fifteen to twenty years later. These symptoms led me to a 23-hour observation that turned into 7 days. Finally I was diagnosed with achalasia at age 34. Mine was far gone enough to go straight to the myotomy/fundoplication surgical procedure. Following this surgery, I was able to lay down and sleep flat for the first time in nearly 20 years. Now, 11 years later, I am seeing a recurrence of symptoms, so I now need to go for a dilation. To anyone needing the surgery, I had a great experience with mine. I was told it may not be permanent and may see symptom recurrence after ten to twelve years, so it's right on track. I was on soft foods/ Nissan diet for a couple of weeks and then I went for my first steak in almost two decades. I was able to eat it and enjoy it. I too found that dietary changes often helped but only sometimes. Often icy cold water helps but not always. Some days, the throwing up helps more than others. But it is the nature of this illness.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: JMB, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I was diagnosed with achalasia soon after the birth of my son, 12 years ago. I was showing symptoms as long as 15 years ago. I had two series of Botox injections that failed. I had a Heller myotomy that failed as well. Currently I take nifedipine to help me eat and drink. I developed aspiration pneumonia in 2009 but wasn't diagnosed until 2010. Despite many efforts to cure my incessant cough, I kept being handed Z-Pak and allergy pills by the doctors. A visit to the emergency room one morning finally led to the discovery of pneumonia. I have good days and bad days. I have severe body aches at times, stomach pain, joint pain, and there is never a trigger for any of it. Stress control is mandatory with this disease; if that's a thing. Esophageal spasms occur every single day. Sometimes hundreds a day, sometimes only 10 or so; that's another thing, no two days are the same. If I could eat eggs today, there's no guarantee I could eat them tomorrow. Literally the only peace I get from this disease is when I sleep. The hardest part of this disease, is watching my family watch me. The pain and worry in their faces shatters me. Being overweight makes this disease invisible to most people. They look at me and see a robust woman. But my body is stuck in this weird starvation mode and holds on to everything I eat. It's hard to describe to someone what it feels like to not be able to swallow even water sometimes. No one gets it. They can't unless they're going through it too. So to the next sufferer that reads this, good luck. I hope you have a family like mine that supports you.

Comment from: Liz, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I have been dealing with achalasia for about 3 years now. It started very mild, and I noticed it when I was out eating a big burger with a beer (I know now why it triggered a spasm) but over the years it progressed to almost every time I eat. Sometimes I can't even get water down. At first I thought maybe it was some type of eating anxiety but it got to the point of waking myself up regurgitating so I went to the doctor. I had already self-diagnosed myself but hospitals always have their procedural way of doing things. After lots of testing they diagnosed me with achalasia. I got a Botox injection which helped for almost a month but the achalasia creeped back in. I am scheduled to get a Heller myotomy on November 12th and I am nervous but so excited. Thank you everyone on this site for sharing your experiences! It has helped me cope with the frustration of this issue and help me know that I'm not alone in my struggles. Wishing you all the best!

Comment from: tiredofthis, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I was just diagnosed with achalasia. Like others I have read on here I have lost 25 lb. in 4 months; which I didn't have to lose in the first place. My biggest symptom is the burning in my throat and mouth and chest pain and I am wondering if anyone else has had this. I had been treated for GERD for a year and a half and no medications have helped. The doctor now wants me to have the Botox injection.

Comment from: Wayne, Male (Patient) Published: July 02

I have been dealing with achalasia since 1996, almost twenty years now and had numerous dilations, a Heller myotomy and I'm at the end stage of the disease. I was faced with the removal of my esophagus 18 months ago but the surgeon repaired another hernia and life goes on with the daily struggle. However I can say I did not want my esophagus removed hoping one day there will be a better method of dealing with this disease. But weight gain is your enemy; your diet is critical and during bad times I drink calorie loaded protein shakes. I'm hoping to delay the removal of my esophagus a few more years but it is very soon as my latest CT scan again shows the amazing drip of barium instead of a normal flow. Throwing up food is so normal, it is just a way to relieve the pain in my chest. I hope all of you continue to improve, I hope they one day provide us all a cure.

Comment from: Diane, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

The first symptom of achalasia for me was mucus in my throat and not being able to clear my throat to speak. I had the barium swallow, a gastroscopy and endoscopy. In the past few months I've had trouble swallowing dry foods and most recently sometimes even liquids. I have to drink water to get the food down. The mucus problem has increased also. I will be having surgery.

Comment from: lizhjohn, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 30

I have had difficulty in swallowing for some time. My gastroenterologist discovered achalasia before I even became aware of it after having an Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Once a year they stretch my sphincter ring as I understand, during a yearly endoscopy. I also have GERD, not sure why. I take medicine for GERD but not for the swallowing. I had numerous tests last year, one of which was the Barium swallowing test. I had developed a severe cough that at the time could not be controlled.

Comment from: Dan, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 16

Sixteen years ago I progressed to a stage where I could not eat a meal, drink liquids without regurgitating them. I would wake up at night coughing due to liquid/food going into my lungs. I could not go out for dinner unless I could find a table near a toilet, when the food and liquid came up I had to move fast to prevent it from being expelled all over the floor. I went to a surgeon who did a barium meal (swallow) and a scope test. He identified it as achalasia. The decision was to use the balloon, which was followed up 3 months later with another expansion. Although I am not a 100 percent cured, I have modified what I eat and how fast I eat. No starchy foods such as bread, potatoes and even chicken. No fizzy drinks. I eat slowly, I used to be one of the first people at the table to finish my meal, now I am always the last. I always have a glass of water at ambient temperature, with each meal. I eat my evening meal early followed by a cup of tea, this seems to aid passing the food through the narrow opening. The top of the bed where my pillow is, is raised by 3 cm. With these changes I have no problem sleeping due to food flowing back up the esophagus.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Miguel, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 04

I had been suffering with achalasia for a few years, and in the last year it has gotten worse. I could not sleep normally due to severe coughing that was caused by fluid in the esophagus entering in my lungs. I lost over 50 pounds over 6 months. I was afraid to eat due to the regurgitating. I went to the gastrointestinal doctors and they informed me that the best procedure to perform was to have the operation to cut the muscle and use part of my stomach to repair the esophagus. My surgeon performed a laparoscopic surgery. I was home the next day and return to work in 3 weeks. I am eating sensible and enjoying my life.

Comment from: Butterfly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I have had my esophagus stretched three times now and felt some temporary relief from achalasia. I have lost weight quickly and it sometimes feels like fluid is going in my lungs at night, this is a very scary and painfully exhausting problem. My doctor just keeps telling me there is scar tissue in my esophagus. I noticed the problem developing after a neck injury from a car accident 5 years ago but it was never proven related. I am sorry for everyone that suffers with this problem I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

Comment from: bobby$m, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I was first diagnosed with achalasia when I was 29. It did not take long for me to be diagnosed (about 2 months) after the normal tests. I had a bougie and two dilatations without any success. I lived with the situation for 7 years losing a bunch of weight. I was able to push the food down with tons of water. I also found that walking around helped sometimes. I also took Procardia to help relax the sphincter muscle that helped some of the time. I found that a cocktail or two before dinner also helped (when I did drink). In 1992 I woke up with chest pain one morning. I went to my doctor who ordered a chest x-ray. My esophagus was totally expanded. I was referred to a new gastroenterologist who told me to use the Procardia under my tongue. That gave me relief. He performed a dilatation that helped me for 23 years. I gained a bunch of weight (too much actually). I have had recent problems. He tried the botulism therapy, but it did not work. It has been getting worse and I had a new bunch of tests. I now have stage 4 achalasia and they are going to do a Heller myotomy. They may have to do an esophagectomy. Don't wait to do the myotomy. It could help to avoid my situation. I thought everything was okay, but my esophagus was expanding without me knowing. I find that room temperature water helps, carbonated liquids help (like club soda) at night.

Comment from: Steve, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 12

I started having swallowing problems about five years ago, mostly pain and pressure in the chest. I was initially diagnosed with GERD, but went to a different doctor and was properly diagnosed with achalasia. I had the Botox and had immediate improvement. As you know, however, that treatment is only temporary. I had a myotomy in May, 2013, and the results have been fantastic. My weight went from 98 to 128. No issues really. I am very happy I had it. I had the VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) procedure and spent three days in the hospital and a few weeks to fully recover. I went back to work in a week. Have the surgery, it is well worth it.

Comment from: jan scoatt, 65-74 (Patient) Published: December 30

I have suffered from achalasia since I was a small child although I was not diagnosed until I was in my 40s. By then so much damage had been done that it was hard to control my symptoms. I had the dilation by balloon and it split my esophagus and I spent 4 weeks in the hospital. After that it was just treating the symptoms. Three years ago, I had the Heller surgery. It was really bad and my recovery time was horrible but after that I felt so much better for about a year. Now we are back to square one. I know I am at the end stage of my disease as well. I am currently 88 pounds and also have COPD. This disease is horrible and if not caught early can make your life miserable and eventually end it. I wish good luck to all of you who are contending with it.

Comment from: Jess, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I recently had surgery for achalasia after having to go through several medical examinations during a period of 2 years. I had the POEM procedure (per-oral endoscopic myotomy) and recovered quickly, I could eat solid food the day after surgery. I am extremely happy with the results although my chest pains I suffered from previous to the surgery have gotten worse. I'm not sure what can be done to help the pain. Other than that I sleep without problems unlike before, when I had to sleep with several pillows under my head in order to not wake up because I needed to cough up the saliva running in my throat. Further I have no problem with refluxes or similar.

Comment from: Maz1953, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 26

I was diagnosed with achalasia 31 years ago. I was also treated with operation to bypass my gullet. This helped a great deal but I have to say by no means did my symptoms disappear. I learnt to live with it and learnt how to cope. Stress definitely brings it on. Also some foods aggravate it, usually over indulgence of treats like cream and chocolate. After all these years I have realized tea is one of the worst offenders. The operation definitely was a great improvement on my life. I would advise anyone to go for it but don't expect a full cure.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Ruthbug11, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

Around the age of 15, I started having issues swallowing. I felt like I had air bubbles and as time progressed I was increasingly unable to get anything down. Bread was one of the worst things. My small town doctor had no idea what was wrong and my parents were getting more and more concerned. I would have troubles getting even liquids to go down, oftentimes coughing up whatever I had eaten/drank. The doctor told me at that point in time (almost 20 years ago) this was seen most often in teenage girls who had had chicken pox. I started getting Botox injections, but they wore off after 2 to 3 years. I ended up having the surgery for achalasia 12 years ago and have been doing well ever since.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 20

My bout of achalasia started about a year ago. I started out by not being able to keep any food down, and vomiting after eating. I also would have a lot of phlegm after eating. After vomiting I would have to blow my nose a lot. I have since had to change my diet, only soft foods, (I would love a steak, salad and chocolate milkshake!) and I've had to stay away from meats, leafy vegetables, and creamy items, i.e., milk, sauces. I have had every test under the sun done, and I have been diagnosed with achalasia. I just found out after my last test I will be able to have the surgery to correct it.

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I have suffered for 30 years with achalasia. I've had 4 stretching, a balloon procedure that did nothing, then Heller myotomy. Doctor could not put a flap, so every night I vomit, regardless if I'm sitting straight up. I vomit with soft food or hard food, sometimes water. The past year I stopped all onion or garlic in cooking, those seem to make it really hard at night with heartburn. It is a horrible disease.

Comment from: Sharon, 45-54 (Patient) Published: October 21

I was diagnosed with achalasia in 1995, after being told it was psychological. I remember being embarrassed when eating; food would frequently have to be regurgitated because it wouldn't go down. Also I had severe stomach pain and such intense heartburn it was felt down my arms, in my neck, and back of head. I had successful laparoscopic Heller myotomy with fundoplication in November 1995. Unfortunately, I'm again experiencing difficulty swallowing, night choking, continued heartburn. I don't want to deal with this again, but in reading your stories I realize that it could be much worse. Good luck to all of you.

Comment from: np, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I was suffering from achalasia since last 2 and half years. I don't know if that is the side effect of my accident 2.5 years back, as it started giving me swallowing disorder right after my car accident and became worse, day by day. I decided to go for surgery, Heller myotomy, which happened in the end of June. Thanks to the intelligent doctor who brought back my normal life. I have no more reflux symptoms nor acidity after surgery.

Comment from: Diana, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I am 27 years old now and I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 24, three years back. I was pregnant, and that was the time I started experiencing difficulty in swallowing of anything. All along I thought it's the symptoms of being pregnant. Soon after giving birth in 2012, I lost weight and it has worsened. A barium swallow test said it all, then I went for a balloon dilatation which was a huge failure. I stayed like that for the whole of last year, until this year June when I went to see a specialist in and this doctor did the tests (barium swallow and gastroscopy). Two days after all the tests, I was booked for a laparoscopic Heller's myotomy. It's now a month after my operation and all is going well, I can eat and drink like a normal person. Please, if you are suffering from achalasia remember there is hope for you. Take it very easy and don't stress yourself. If you see any symptoms please ask your doctor for a barium swallow test; good luck.

Comment from: Achalasia, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

At 16 I had issues swallowing, drinking and being able to keep my weight in control. My pediatrician told my mother I was focusing myself to do this and needed to see counselor. When I finally turned 18 I went to an adult gastroenterologist who was able to find out what was wrong with me for the past 14 months, in a matter of 28 days. After passing out for the second time and being rushed to the emergency room by my mom, I went in to the operation room weighing 86 lb. Now I am 19 and in college, after almost 2 years later I started getting those chest pains and too familiar swallowing issues. I know nothing was 100% but I was hoping for the best. I have gone back to my doctor and have an x-ray set up, so hopefully medicines can just help me. To all the new people finding out about achalasia, make sure you follow up on your checkups. Be happy and still enjoy eating and drinking. Don't let this corrupt the way you live, remember it's not the end of the world.

Comment from: There is hope, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 30

I am a 70 year old female. I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 19 years old. After a year of symptoms, losing weight and finally not even being able to swallow water, I had the Heller procedure. I could swallow a lot better after this, but still had a degree of difficulty. Years later I started getting dilation, which helped a little. I was having this done every 3 months. My doctor finally told me in 2011 that he could no longer do the dilatation, I was at the end stage of my disease. My doctor referred me to a surgeon. I had esophagectomy surgery, where they remove most of your esophagus and part of your stomach is removed and then the stomach is moved up to your chest cavity and reattached to a very short remaining esophagus. It was a long recovery (probably because of my age, 67 at the time. I can happily report that now I finally can swallow like a normal person. No one can appreciate this more than an achalasia sufferer. There is hope at the end of this tunnel. Good luck to all of you who endure this problem every day.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Greg, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 21

I had achalasia for several years and was misdiagnosed by my primary care doctor for having esophageal spasms, based on barium swallow tests. It progressed to the point where I could not sleep, because I had to sit up and constantly cough to keep from drowning on saliva. I went to the emergency room (ER), had more swallow tests, and an endoscopy. I had a Heller myotomy about 2 years ago, and I haven"t had any problems. I asked about the fundoplication, because I was worried about acid reflux after everything was opened up, but my surgeon advised against it. He said he has had to go in and undo some of these, and I would not have any problem with reflux. He was right. I have not had any symptoms at all. Before, when I thought I had heartburn, it was actually food digesting in my esophagus and trickling into my stomach through a 1mm hole. My doctors were all outstanding. There was another surgeon who wanted to do a less invasive surgery with a shorter recovery time, but I found out that he could not make the incisions as good. I chose the better procedure. Also, I can eat whatever I want, but with meat, I cut it a little smaller and chew it a little more now.

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.

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.

Comment from: manju, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I really don't know when this symptoms started. I was a medical student when I started to experience the symptoms. I suffered a lot, I was not able to drink water also. Every day I had vomiting and wheezing also every morning and I had severe heartburn. Finally I underwent barium swallow and manometry and was diagnosed with achalasia cardia; it was a painful moment in my life. Afterwards I underwent endoscopy with balloon dilatation twice but it was failure. Then I underwent cardiomyotomy. Afterwards I was on liquid diet for 3 months; now 4 years are over. I can swallow everything slowly, but after surgery also I didn't gain any weight.

Comment from: AppleJack, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

I was entirely normal until about 2 years ago. I started having heartburn once a month, then once a week, then once a night, then several times a day and night. In one year I went from the first experience of heartburn to the most severe experience of GERD, a progression that seemed to take many years in other people. I started to realize that eating was difficult. And then more difficult. I told my doctor that I was having trouble swallowing and that I was vomiting. He told me I had severe GERD. I realized I hadn"t really told him how it was for me. I went back two weeks later and explained much more specifically how it"s difficult after I swallow, and how when I say I am vomiting, I am not referring to acid reflux, I mean vomiting, and he understood. I already suspected that I had achalasia after reading a book about gastrointestinal problems, but luckily, a barium swallow showed the bird"s beak. Next I will have esophageal manometry to confirm or deny, and I"m hoping to get a Heller myotomy or a peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM). If so, all this happened in two years.

Comment from: Rastalife, 25-34 (Patient) Published: March 14

I had achalasia for 5 years. I didn"t realize it till I had had it for 2 years. It slowly got worse. It started with difficultly eating. I felt pressure in my chest, and soon after a relief as it passed through. I was wrongly diagnosed with GERD and was given an antacid prescription. Obviously that didn"t work. So I went back, and had an upper balloon dilation and that worked for about 2 hours. A month later I went back, again they did a balloon dilation, even though I expressed that it was unsuccessful. At this point it had gotten worse, and had been 2 years. So again I went back and described my symptoms. I can"t eat, I regurgitate almost every bit. I have lost 15 lbs in a year. The doctor treated me like I was some young kid looking for attention. I was 24 years old. Mind you I had no insurance and had spent over $3000 in tests and treatment. Finally they order a barium swallow test, that proved to show my esophagus was of it's rocker! Then one more test was done to show what muscle it was that was causing the blockage to my stomach. And I was rightfully diagnosed with achalasia. Now it"s been 4 1/2 years. My doctor referred me to a surgeon to proceed with a Heller myotomy. Thank goodness! I can eat again, it"s been 3 years since my surgery and I am still treated. My esophagus still is on the slow side, but no more getting stuck and regurgitation. I applied for charity help at the hospital that paid for my surgery. I hope my story helps. You can"t live a full life without being able to eat properly… take care of yourself!

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Seeker, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 04

There are about 70,000 achalasia victims worldwide and someone must have an answer other than surgery. I was diagnosed 5 years ago at 61, confirmed with a barium swallow (EGD), endoscopy and manometry and suffer all of the generic symptoms. The GI's only solution was a Heller myotomy. I've been relatively successful in suppressing most attacks with careful diet, multiple small meals followed with a carbonated caffeine-free beverage (e.g. ginger ale) with every meal, avoid chocolate, alcohol and several types of spices (e.g. rosemary). I had a remarkable experience last month. I flew to Las Vegas and spent 3 weeks there (from my 15 year home in Denver). For the duration of the visit I had no symptoms. I ate and drank normally without any problems that usually plagued me with the disorder. When I returned to Denver last week, some the symptoms have returned; but, I'm still able to eat and drink with fewer acute issues. And, I'm at a complete loss as to the reasons for the abatement; altitude, climate, water, gambling… whatever happened to me may be the answer to curing this anomaly.

Comment from: Charlie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I have had difficulty swallowing for about 4 years. At first it was rice and chicken, a favorite of this family. I didn't realize the food was stuck until the water I drank came back up. It was very distressing, but didn't happen too often. The last 6 months it has happened with more foods. I have found that if I drink tap water with meals it is much better than ice water. I try to alternate foods so that salad, vegetables and fruit help difficult things go down. The best thing I have found is warm/hot liquids - coffee, tea, soup or water. I was diagnosed last week. My husband does not want me to have surgery. I go back to see the doctor on January 21 to discuss the options. Reflux has been part of my life for maybe 30 years.

Comment from: mohammad, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

I suffered from achalasia for more than two years. At first I was not diagnosed correctly and I took the wrong treatment for about 3 months. Then I started to lose a lot of weight. After that I decided to go to a specialized hospital where I was diagnosed of having achalasia and the best choice for me was Heller myotomy and fundoplication. Anyway, I am much better now but I still suffer when I have dinner. I only gained 10 kg after 8 months of the surgery. Before the surgery I lost more than 25 kg. I am much better than before, I can eat and swallow now but I am not feeling well especially with some kinds of drinks and food.

Comment from: Quarlinda, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 04

I was 25 when I was first diagnosed with achalasia. It began with difficulty swallowing and progressed to migraine headaches. My initial doctors knew right away what was happening in my esophagus and said I would be a good candidate for a Heller Myotomy with a fundoplication wrap which is a surgery to slice the sphincter muscle and wrap it around my stomach so that the sphincter remains open to allow the passage of food. While the surgery is costly, the effects are phenominal. I was a good candidate for the Heller Myotomy with fundoplication wrap because of my age, health, and active lifestyle. After three years of passing out, loosing considerable amounts of weight (down from 120 to 80 pounds and very unhealthy) and awful migraines, a gastroenterologist began with a Botox treatment that allowed me to last for two weeks. (I was too far gone for balloon dilation.) Then, I had the surgery. This surgery saved my life. I am a certified teacher, a mother, and a survivor of achalasia. While I still have the achalasia, I can now swallow and digest food because my sphincter is permanently open. I have a whole new respect for food and healthy living!

Comment from: wog24, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 08

My teenage son was diagnosed with achalasia. He is 100 percent better. After doing three or four tests, his doctor scheduled surgery which was done laparoscopically. He has had no more issues and we were told that the surgery should last for several years and may or may not need to be repeated.

Comment from: Lyrics mom912, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 06

I have had trouble swallowing since 2010. I went to a doctor and he said it was IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) with constipation and some gallstones. I had the stones removed. I was still having the trouble with the whole swallowing thing and here it is 2017. So I went to another doctor, I went through more tests, and got told that I have achalasia.

Comment from: tiodulce, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 07

I was diagnosed with achalasia about 7 years ago, fortunately for me by a well-informed gastrologist, who not only knew exactly what my problem was but knew one of the world's top thoracic surgeons in the area. Having, or shall I say, attempted to have coffee that morning it didn't go so well, and after an hour, it still didn't go down. I threw up the coffee in the doctor's office bathroom. I was told to be ready for the operation in two days. I can't express enough how important early diagnosis is and putting your health with the best of the best with this very delicate section of your anatomy. Before the operation, eating while standing was helpful, of course plenty of water. And it is just best to make small plates, and be near a bathroom or bucket, meaning eating alone.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Thomas, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I found out (after years of torturous experimentation), for achalasia foods like deviled ham and corned beef hash are easier to swallow obviously. I also used a food chopper to mash up canned vegetables such as peas and carrots. At the end of the meal wash it all down with plenty of fluids (16 to 20 oz).

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

I was diagnosed with achalasia 6 years ago. I have now contracted the cough. I only sleep about 3 hours a night otherwise I am coughing and throwing up.

Comment from: Cat, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I believe I am suffering with achalasia. I haven't had it diagnosed, but have been suffering for 4 years with the symptoms of achalasia. I have had tests including 2 endoscopies, 1st one showing a hiatal hernia, so nothing was diagnosed. I then went on to have a manometry test, which showed low pressure at the bottom of the esophagus, but still not diagnosed as achalasia. In between those, a year later I had another endoscopy down the throat, which showed restriction to the upper sphincter muscle, still no achalasia diagnosed. Then following this, I had a barium swallow, which showed a big esophagus and webbing, still no achalasia diagnosed, and am still suffering with the symptoms of achalasia. I don't know what to do, I am desperate. This is taking over my life.

Comment from: dreamingofchewing, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I am a 44 year old female recently diagnosed with achalasia. I find drinking or swallowing anything including the saliva caused by gums/throat drops/candies worsens and extends the bad situation. Cough drops are great for dry or irritated throat due to short term illnesses, not a stuffed esophagus.

Comment from: Jessie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 01

It is a pain. I find that chamomile tea helps a lot when I get an achalasia attack. Along with white saltine crackers or a piece of white bread. Along with Tums and Gaviscon. Ugh. I also have a do-not-eat list, so far it is limited.

Comment from: revlinda, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

I was diagnosed with achalasia in 1994. I was given nifedipine as a treatment and have been taking this medication since. I have minor side effects and have never had surgery (which I wished to avoid). My physician at the time said that if this works he had patients that had taken this medication for 10 years and it was still effective. I wonder if there are more people than you know that use medication long term.

Comment from: tallpetsitter, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: July 07

My mother was diagnosed with achalasia in 2013 and in May of 2013 had surgery where the esophageal ring was cut. Two weeks ago (June 2014) she was hospitalized with an impacted esophagus. The doctor now wants her on a strictly liquid/pureed diet for the rest of her life. This will severely impact her social life and cause her to isolate herself. I wonder if anyone has tried physical or occupational therapy to help with peristalsis.

Comment from: frannieangel, 65-74 (Patient) Published: May 09

I have chest pain from achalasia, feels like a chicken bone is stuck. Sometimes drinking extremely hot water helps relax it, and when I was a smoker, a cigarette would also seem to relax it. Now it is just the hot water. I usually have the endoscopy every 2 years, it is easy and does so much good.

Comment from: cforester, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 19

I have had all the classic symptoms of achalasia for three years. I have lost 50 lbs in those 3 years. I have been through clinic for every test under the sun on stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, including EGD, HIDA scan, Upper gastrointestinal, CT Scan, even an ERCP because I had a Roux-En-Y gastric bypass in 2004. My symptoms did not start till 2011 and are still present. It wasn"t until recently that I discovered this disorder, from a TV show and I about flipped out when I listened to these symptoms. No one has ever suggested that I have this problem, but every single symptom on here, I have. I now live in Nashville TN and have seen a gastrointestinal specialist who was supposed to be very reputable, for three months. He did the EGD which he said was normal. He was led to believe that my issue was stress induced. Well, if it wasn"t stress reduced at the initial onset, I"m convinced it is worsened by stress after not being able to eat for three years. He referred me to another gastrointestinal specialist and I have been waiting three months to get in to him, my appointment is on 3/25/14. I am so frustrated.

Comment from: Vonne, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 10

I was diagnosed with achalasia after the birth of my daughter who is now 31. I realized that I could no longer eat late at night, it would be very painful. I did have balloon dilatation. I eat very slow. And I cannot eat steak. I drink a lot of water to ensure that the food goes down. It's an annoying way to live however I suppose there are worse things to deal with.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: gus, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I was 30 years old when I was diagnosed with achalasia. I had just given birth to my first child and after a few weeks I began to have trouble swallowing and thought it was related to giving birth. After I realized the weight I was losing was not just birth weight it was due to me not being able to get my food down. Once I could not even get water down I knew there was something wrong. I was tested for different reflux and gastro problems, I was given a heart medicine that relaxed my muscle to eat but that soon no longer worked and made my skin rash. Finally, I was given a balloon dilation the first one was not large enough so I was back in. It was the 3rd dilation when a larger size was used that finally relieved me. It has now been 14 years and once in a while the symptoms occur. I drink only room temperature water because cold drinks tense up my esophagus muscle. It tends to happen with certain foods so I have my water ready at all times that I eat something. It also occurs when the kids are arguing when I am eating because it tenses my esophagus muscle.

Comment from: bri1, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I started experiencing difficulty with swallowing about 9 years ago. I was eating a turkey sandwich and the food just got stuck in my throat. I tried swallowing water to help push the food down, but the water would come back up and I had to spit the water out. Then I would get up and walk around trying to physically move or massage the food down inside my throat. I had my esophagus stretched and I've had the 24-hour motility study done, but nothing helps. My symptoms may disappear for a few days, but they are always back. Last month, I was rushed to the ER because my food was stuck, but now I can't breathe properly when the food is stuck. There is a pain that radiates from my chest to arms and neck. It feels like a heart attack. I only felt better after I threw up about 4 times and I could breathe again. I've had a gallbladder ultrasound, and there were no gallstones. I'm waiting to find out the result of the HIDA tests where the doctors checked to see if my gallbladder is functioning or not.

Comment from: Rzbuddz24, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I have been suffering from achalasia for two years. It started about two weeks after having my daughter. When it was triggered, I have gone days without eating or drinking anything. I went though the tests about nine months ago after being seen in the emergency room for food impaction in my esophagus. For more than a year they treated me for acid reflux, heartburn, and nausea. No one seemed to understand what I was saying. I found a great doctor at University of California, Irvine. They redid the test and recommended a Heller myotomy. I had the procedure last week. I am still in recovery with liquid diet, then pureed food, then soft foods. I am having severe heart burn about every other day, which had gone away for about eight months before the surgery.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was 8 or 9 years old after suffering symptoms for a couple years. It started with difficulty swallowing and progressed to regurgitation, chest pain, and eventually food coming back up through my nose at night. I had two Botox injections, which helped for a year or two then finally had the Heller myotomy. I am now 23, and my food stays down, but I absolutely depend on water to swallow anything. I frequently get chest pains, which seem to be stress-induced.

Comment from: Judog from london, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I just left the hospital this evening after having an endoscopy. I had a barium swallow also last week. The doctor that did the endoscopy really thinks I have achalasia and the bill fits because I have had this serious swallowing condition for 11 years now. I find it horribly difficult to swallow both liquids and solids. I feel an acute pain in my chest and back and I only get relief after I have taken a few sips of water. When I eat, (every single time I do) I feel the food is stuck in my throat and sometimes it feels like I can't breathe. I need mouthfuls of water to forcefully push the food down and it takes over 20 seconds of me pushing hard, swallowing repeatedly before the food now feel likes its gone down and most times I actually hear the food drop with a thud into my stomach. Its harrowing, it feel like I am abnormal and I wonder if I can go on like this but I am glad now that a diagnosis has been made and we'd see what method of treatment and management they are willing to give me. I am sure I will get something done before January is over. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story

Comment from: ukkate, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I was first diagnosed about 3 years ago. My symptoms were pain and a feeling of 'blockage' in my throat when swallowing and regurgitation of food and liquids, especially at night when asleep. I had a Botox injection treatment which worked wonderfully for about a year. It was painless, an outpatient procedure and I was home in 2 hours. When my symptoms reappeared I called the doctor and was scheduled for a second treatment, which also was problem-free. That was 2 years ago and unfortunately I am experiencing symptoms again. I have difficulty swallowing, pain and discomfort and occasional throwing up. The most scary is the regurgitation at night when I wake up choking, even when I haven't eaten or had anything for a few hours before bed. I have scheduled a treatment for next week. The only symptom I don't share with other correspondents is weight loss. I am overweight and really need to lose, but obviously I must be getting through enough high calorie stuff to maintain my bulk! It doesn't seem to matter what food I eat, sometimes I can eat anything, other times a lettuce leaf or even a sip of water will set it off for hours.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: Anali, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 04

I suffered from achalasia for the last 25 years. It took me a year to find a surgeon who could perform the surgery to treat it. It has been almost four years after my surgery, and I can now eat without pain, choking or vomiting. My only problem now is mild acid reflux that I did not have before my surgery.

Comment from: jr, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I have achalasia and I am going to have a gastric sleeve surgery.

Comment from: Ringle, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

I was diagnosed with a acalasha at the age of 13. I remember my younger years with many stomach aches and vomiting. By the time I was 12 my mum knew their was something really wrong. I was losing weight fast and so tired all the time. I would get lot of pain I'm my chest with pain shooting out my shoulders. Sometimes I would pass out from the pain. So many tests later and being wrongly diagnosed with anorexia I was finally operated on as by this stage I could not swallow water and all I did was sleep. I was great for six months then the symptoms started again. So I had to be operated on again twelve months later. I am now 40 and happily married with two beautiful children. The last five years I have been suffering with a lot of pain again and chocking In my sleep. So the tests start again. Looks like I have formed a hernia which is starting to interfere with my food going to my stomach. Looks like a operation is going to be done again. Hoping after this lot of surgery that my energy for my life will return. So here we go again!

Comment from: coco34, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 05

I was about 14 or 15 years old when I was diagnosed with achalasia. I started having pains in my rib cage area when I was about 10 or so. The vomiting started when I got to high school. My treatments started with balloon dilations. Then, I had part of the esophageal sphincter cut and removed. That lasted for about two years. I got really sick when I was in college. A doctor told me that my esophagus had enlarged. He said it looked like I had two stomachs sitting on top of each other. I developed aspirating pneumonia because I was inhaling what was in my esophagus into my lungs. My next surgery (I don't know what it's called) removed the enlarged part of my esophagus, pushed my stomach up so it was more in my chest cavity, and stretched and reattached it to my throat. I'm doing much better now. I watch what I eat so that I don't get acid reflux or heart burn, but other than that all is right with me. I am a survivor.

Comment from: ferret4073, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: January 30

I was diagnosed with achalasia when I was around 7 years old, but since I was born, my parents have been telling me I was always throwing up. When I was 4, I told them that I had these pains in my chest. After about three years of being tested to figure out what I had, they finally said it was achalasia. They held off doing surgery to me since I was only a kid, but by the time I was 13, I had not been able to even complete a full meal. I had surgery, and it worked for about a year. Then I started having problems again. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it keeps on getting worse over the months. I recently had a test performed about a month ago, and they told me the food was getting stuck on the uppermost part of my esophagus. They said they could do nothing for me at the moment with the technology and treatment options available.

Comment from: wood57, Published: January 30

I am a 52 year old male and had a myotomy procedure performed 24 years ago. It took 10 or more years of symptoms for my doctors to diagnose it correctly. The surgery has been very successful. Be careful of your weight gain; it's your biggest enemy. I have been following up with endoscopies every three to four years since the surgery. The surgery was very difficult to go through, even at a young age. It can be very frustrating.

Comment from: sherbear, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I am 29 years old. In November of 2007, I started having trouble swallowing. A short time after that, I stared having heartburn. After months of going to the doctors, I was diagnosed with achalasia. I am going to have esophagomyotomy surgery in January of 2009.

Comment from: Firetiger13, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

I'm a teenager who was diagnosed this year in mid-February with achalasia. I had complications of feelings in my throat and began throwing up the third month into the illness without knowing what it was. It was late July when they knew for sure it was achalasia. I couldn't eat, sleep or drink much. I was always light-headed, and losing more weight by the day. I had no joy or energy to do anything.

Comment from: TT, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 29

My mom is 55 years old and was diagnosed with achalasia about two years ago. We have tried various medications (allopathic and homeopathic), but they have not helped. Some of the homeopathic medicines give some relief when swallowing but only marginal. Mom had a balloon dilation performed about 15 months ago. It seemed to resolve the issue for about four months, but then the symptoms were back with a vengeance. She used to throw up regularly (foamy and watery vomits), about three to four times a day. Now the foamy discharge is gone, but it still pains her every time she swallows. And as soon as she has the first couple of bites, the sphincter jams up. She seems to have resigned herself to these symptoms, and we are trying to alter her diet with fluid supplements as she has lost a lot of weight over the last year. We are keeping our fingers crossed that her health improves with these minor adjustments to the diet.

woman with abdominal pain
Comment from: BMAC, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 29

I have had achalasia since I was 7 years old. I had an operation at age 11 to relax the muscles at the entrance to the diaphragm. I found I could then swallow if I forced the food past the constriction by swallowing wind. This can be quite painful, but it works. I am now 62 years of age, and I have had dilatations performed on a number of occasions with varying degrees of success. They only lessen the pain of swallowing; they don't cure it. The lower part of my esophagus collects the food like a second stomach, and then over a period of time, I can force the food into my stomach by swallowing wind and holding the wind under pressure while the food slowly passes through the diaphragm.

Comment from: laura, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I got achalasia after an infection in my esophagus. I had an endoscopy, and in two days I am going to have balloon dilatation, which hopefully will improve my state. I can't really afford surgery, and can't imagine life without food. I am worried if my condition does not improve.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I am going in for my surgery tomorrow. Apparently, I was misdiagnosed for several years. I was finally diagnosed when I aspirated into my left lung and developed pneumonia or something similar to that. I was released from the hospital a month ago. I am really looking forward to being able to eat without choking or vomiting. I am glad I found this site and am feeling better about going in.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I have had achalasia for over 25 years. I have had all the various courses of treatment dilatation, balloon dilatation, multiple endoscopies, Heller myotomy 8 years ago. The myotomy helped with the swallowing problems which was great. However, I have severe pain often, and have never been able to trace it to any particular types of foods. The pain mimics a heart attack, and at its worst causes immediate headache and nausea. What I would like is a way to deal with the pain. I can deal with the swallowing difficulty. I had a terrible case of stomach flu two months ago and the repeated vomiting caused such severe chest pain I ended up in the emergency room.

Comment from: snelson, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 14

My esophagus is actually twisted inside, so when I try to drink water you can actually hear sound as if going down a funnel. I am on a liquid and soft food diet now. I was in denial for a while trying to pretend that everyone has pain when having a grape. The reality that I can control my chest pain with simple changes to my diet gave me back some control. I know that sounds weird, but I feel better.

Comment from: jc, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 14

The first day I encountered having this disease I couldn't figure out what the deal was. I was gagging, losing weight, and nothing worked. I was medicated and that didn't work they stretched my esophagus with a small size black tube nothing changed then the next size black tube after that I had to see a specialist. He then did a balloon dilatation which worked for eight years now my stomach blows up and its very uncomfortable, so back I went to see the doctor again they performed Botox which I think its okay for now.

Comment from: beetree, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 14

I've had this for years. 9 years, but it seemed to go away for awhile, but now its back. I sit down to eat supper and one bite of dinner and it sets it off. It's bad it lasts a long time. I can't relieve it, I throw up and it hurts and I keep gaging myself to try and get up whatever it is, so I can relieve the feeling, its awful and scary. Finally whatever was down there after an hour sometimes comes up. I don't have it all the time though.

Comment from: football fan, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 14

I have had achalasia for approx ten years. I am 48 years old. I had a laparoscopic myotomy a few years ago. Helped for a couple years, but now symptoms are back. I thought it was caused by spicy foods, but it can be anything now. I am trying chiropractic to see if that will help the muscles and nerves. Anyone out there had positive feedback from chiropractic for achalasia?

woman with abdominal pain
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