Achalasia is one of the rarer gastroenterological diseases. It is a condition which Dr Haidry has considerable experience in treating. We hope this blog post helps people living with the condition or with concerns about it and provides some information they can use.
Achalasia means explicitly “failure to relax”. It relates to the muscle at the lower end of the oesophagus being unable to relax and allow food to pass into the stomach. The muscle is unable to contract normally. This makes it difficult for food to move safely into the stomach. This food then sticks in the oesophagus. This can be both very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.
Main Symptoms of Achalasia
Achalasia is characterised by:
- Difficulty with swallowing
- Regurgitation of food
- Chest pain
- Breathing problems, when the regurgitated food enters the throat or even the lungs
The Diagnosis Process
Achalasia is diagnosed with several tests. Patients usually have an X-Ray study focused on the oesophagus. This will include a barium swallow which will show if there are issues with the muscle at the end of the oesophagus. Patients with this condition will see the barium pass much more slowly into the stomach.
There is also an oesophageal manometry test. This will demonstrate any abnormalities in the muscle function of the oesophagus. It is also possible to diagnose this condition via endoscopy.
Treatment for Achalasia
Many of the symptoms of achalasia are manageable with oral medication. Nitrates and calcium-channel blockers are common medications for this condition, but they are not usually effective without further intervention. There are surgical procedures available too, which involve cuts to the muscle which relieve the symptoms of the disease.
Dr Haidry recommends the minimally invasive endoscopic procedure Per-Oral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) for many patients. It will depend on individual circumstances, but POEM requires no surgery and is relatively low risk. An endoscope can efficiently create a tunnel in the layers of the oesophagus. It is then possible to make cuts in the muscle less invasive.
Dr Rehan Haidry is a highly experienced endoscopist and gastroenterologist. His commitment to the latest developments ensures patients get the most advanced and effective treatments in every instance. Patients diagnosed with achalasia or worries about symptoms can get in touch to discuss a treatment plan. To make an enquiry or to book an appointment please call Dr Haidry’s secretary on 020 7183 7965