Achalasia Treatment in Weirton, WV

Achalasia is a disorder that makes it difficult to swallow food. It is also referred to as “cardiospasm”. It is caused by malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that assists in the passing of food from the esophagus to the stomach. While the exact cause of Achalasia is unknown, most patients exhibit degeneration of the esophageal muscles and nerves that control the muscles.

Symptoms of Achalasia

Because of the malfunction of the esophageal muscles, patients with achalasia will typically experience experience:

  • Regurgitative issues
  • Heartburn / Chest Pain
  • Coughing, sometimes combined with regurgitation
  • Difficulty swallowing.

Many people will also avoid eating because of the associated problems, which can cause unintentional weight loss.

Testing for Achalasia

When a patient comes forward with symptoms that may point to Achalasia, a doctor may test by performing an endoscopy and examining the esophagus. Other times, a manometry or an X-Ray may also be administered.

Achalasia Treatment

Achalasia can be treated in a number of ways. A doctor may recommend a combination of changes in diet, medication, botox injections and surgery.

Diet Alterations

While a diet can’t treat Achalasia, it can help make life easier. It is recommended that sufferers of this issue begin eating softer food and drinking more water with their meals. Some have also found that the bubbles in carbonated beverages help push food down the throat and make it easier to process.

Oral Medication

Achalasia is often treated by drugs called nitrates, which can help relax the lower esophagus and make it easier for food to pass. This type of medication typically tends to help those who are in the early stages of the disease, but long-term sufferers may not find relief.

Botox Injections

Endoscopic botox injections in the lower esophagus may help open the passageway. The procedure is quick, non-surgical and does not require a hospital stay, but the effects only last for a few months before another injection is needed.

Dilation

With this procedure, the lower esophageal sphincter is forcefully expanded. The patient will swallow a tube with a balloon attached to the end. The balloon will expand and stretch the sphincter.

Esophagomyotomy

During an esophagomyotomy, the lower esophageal sphincter will be cut. While the success rate of this procedure is near 90%, lifelong care may be required due to the increased risk of acid reflux disease.