Esophageal Achalasia is a condition in which the lower esophageal sphincter or gastroesophageal sphincter fail to open while swallowing.
This leads to accumulation of food in the esophagus and as the condition progresses, it can cause severe damage to esophageal nerves.
The exact reason behind this condition is not known, but it can be developed due to multiple reasons, like hereditary or underlying autoimmune conditions.
Other conditions like esophageal cancer and patristic infections can also cause esophageal achalasia and can affect both elders and children.
The common signs and symptoms include trouble swallowing, chest pain and discomfort, weight loss, heartburn, severe pain after eating and acid reflux. In few cases, symptoms may worsen and can cause coughing, increased risk of aspiration, choking.
Doctors recommend treatment options that aim at reducing the symptoms permanently or altering the function of lower esophageal sphincter muscle. Initially, doctors may use a balloon for inflating LES for improving esophageal function.
However, in certain cases, this line of treatment may tear the sphincter, needing additional surgery for repair. Also, if the first line of treatment does not work, surgery is recommended. A majority of patients feel more relieved from their symptoms, post-surgery.
Doctors also use Botox or nitrate or calcium channel blockers to relax the sphincter. It is also suggested to make dietary changes like eating liquid food, drinking water with meals for easy passage of food through esophagus.