Achalasia Treatment in Downers Grove, IL
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.
At Digestive Health Services, our board-certified gastroenterologists specialize in providing comprehensive treatment for patients having difficulty swallowing due to achalasia in Downers Grove, IL. They will take the time to provide you with a comprehensive diagnosis to help determine the best treatment option for you. For more information, contact our office at 630-434-9312 and schedule an appointment.
Symptoms of Achalasia
Generally, because of the malfunction of the esophageal muscles, patients with achalasia will usually 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.
Diagnostic Testing from Digestive Health Solutions
When a patient comes forward with symptoms that may point to Achalasia, our gastroenterologist may test by performing an endoscopy and examining the esophagus. Other times, a manometry or an X-Ray may also be administered.
Treatment for Achalasia
Achalasia can be treated in a number of ways. Our gastroenterologist may recommend a combination of changes in diet, medication, Botox injections or surgery.
Altering Your Diet
While a diet cannot 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 found that the bubbles in carbonated beverages help push food down the throat and make it easier to process.
Taking 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.
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.
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.
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.