Managing the Symptoms of Achalasia
Achalasia is a disease that affects the nerves in the esophagus. As a result, there is difficulty in swallowing food. It also causes regurgitation of food. This is a disease that has no cure. However, the symptoms can be managed through treatment allowing the patient to lead a normal life without problems.
The treatment for Achalasia involves the following:
Medication is given in the form of muscle relaxants. This allows the sphincter muscles to relax. This is not commonly used due to the side-effects and is considered only when other treatments don’t work.
- Pneumatic Dilation
Here, a balloon is inserted into the esophagus to dilate or expand the sphincter opening. This allows food to travel smoothly. The sphincter may constrict again, and it may be required to repeat this procedure.
Botox injection can be administered to the sphincter in the esophagus. This allows the muscle to relax, helping in smooth passage of food. This is used only if pneumatic dilation doesn’t work.
Surgery is apt for younger patients. It includes any of the following procedures:
- The muscle at the lower part of the sphincter is cut, allowing food to move smoothly.
- The top of the stomach can be wrapped around the sphincter in a procedure to tighten the muscle and alleviate symptoms.
- An endoscope can be inserted through the throat to cut the muscle at the lower esophageal sphincter.
Depending on the patient’s overall health, any of these methods may be used.