Achalasia

Monday, June 22, 2015

Achalasia is a disorder that affects the ability of the esophagus to move food into the stomach. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this disorder in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Achalasia is a disease that can make it hard to swallow. It can also mimic other common disorders, like gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Achalasia is caused by a problem in the esophagus. This problem is caused by a loss of nerves. Doctors do not know for sure why the nerves are lost, but the result is that muscles in the esophagus do not work properly. When these muscles do not work properly, food cannot pass into the stomach.

Symptoms include:

Trouble swallowing liquids and solids

Chest pain or heartburn

Food backing up into your mouth or throat, and

Cough or choking on fluid or food

These symptoms are like those of GERD, which is more common. Many patients with these symptoms are treated for GERD first.

There is no cure for achalasia. But there are effective treatments to help your symptoms. Treatments may include medication to provide relief of symptoms and to help the muscles in the esophagus work or, in some cases, surgery.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.