Achalasia is rare disease of the muscle of the lower esophagus (food tube) that prevents relaxation of the esophageal sphincter (the ring of muscle between the end of the esophagus and the opening to the stomach) and reduces contractions, or peristalsis, of the esophagus.
Signs and symptoms of achalasia include
- trouble swallowing food (dysphagia),
- food or liquid flowing back up into the throat (regurgitation), and
- waking up at night coughing or choking due to regurgitation.
Other associated symptoms can include
- chest pain or pressure,
- trouble burping,
- hiccups, and
- weight loss due to reduced intake of food.
Cause of achalasia
While there is degeneration of the muscles and nerves of the esophagus in achalasia, the exact cause of the condition is unknown.
Other achalasia symptoms and signs
- Chest Pain or Pressure
- Food or Liquid Flowing Back Up into the Throat (Regurgitation)
- Trouble Burping
- Trouble Swallowing Food (Dysphagia)
- Waking Up at Night Coughing or Choking Due to Regurgitation
- Weight Loss Due to Reduced Intake of Food
Main Article on Achalasia Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Digestive Disorders: 23 Constipation Myths and Facts
Constipation results in fewer bowel movements. Laxatives, home remedies, and diet changes may bring constipation relief. Change...
Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions
Learn about the digestive system and common misconceptions of digestive disorders. Read about what causes ulcers, heartburn,...
Digestive Disorders: Foods That Help or Hurt Tummy Cramps
What you eat can affect your cramps -- for better or for worse. Here are the best and worst foods and drinks for when you’re in...
Digestive Health: 10 Probiotic Foods That Help Digestion
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and yeasts found in probiotic foods and fermented products like kimchi, kombucha, and kefir....
GERD Quiz: Test Your Digestive Diseases IQ
Who is at risk for developing GERD? Are you? Take this quiz to learn what GERD is, if you're at risk, and what you can do about...
Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More
Upset stomach? Some foods may be the culprits, and bad habits may be to blame. Treat your body right with these simple nutrition...
Examples of Medications for Achalasia Symptoms and Signs
Digestive Disorders Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter