When a person is diagnosed with achalasia esophagus, they normally have had symptoms for an extended period of time. Achalasia of the esophagus is a long standing disease when the lower end of the esophagus tightens up and becomes very difficult to pass food. This results in the obstruction of food going down into the stomach. Many people with achalasia of esophagus get full very quickly and constant spit up or vomit their food. This is because the esophagus fills up and can no longer contain any more food. People will constantly complain about regurgitating their meals that have not even been processed by the stomach.
One of the most common complaints of people while achalasia of esophagus is bad breath. This is because the food does not enter into the stomach and constant comes back up. This makes the person’s breath have a very foul odor. Also, when the person lays down they might feel the food coming back up. That is why many people with achalasia tend to like to stay upright when eating and for a while after. This allows some of the food to leak into the stomach through the small hole in the bottom of the esophagus.
The diagnosis of achalasia of the esophagus is usually made by a procedure called a barium swallow. In this procedure a patient with symptoms of achalasia is referred to a radiologist for imaging. In the radiology office, the person will drink a slurry of barium, which has a chalky taste. After they drink an adequate amount, they will have an x-ray taken of their chest and mouth area. If achalasis of esophagus, the barium will get stuck above the stomach in the esophagus. There is normally a dialation of the esophagus and a ‘birds beak’ at the end of the esophagus. This birds beak sign is strongly indicative of achalasia and the radiologist will be able to recognize the disease right away.
Once a person has been diagnosed with achalasia, there are several different treatment options. Most of them are relatively simple procedures that can be done on an outpatient basis. The most simple is a dilation of the esophagus. In this procedure a gastroenterologist will use a scope and then several different sized rods to open up the esophagus. The doctor will pass larger and larger rods into the constricted area until the opening is large enough for food to pass through. After the procedure the patient will like be put on medicine to minimize acid reflux and inflammation. In this way the achalasia esophagus is treated and is prevented from coming back.