I am 32 year old from Belfast in Northern Ireland and ha...

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I am 32 year old from Belfast in Northern Ireland and have recently been diagnosed with achalasia after over a year of going to see doctors and them telling me I had heartburn and generally saying there was nothing wrong with me! Eventually following 2 endoscopies and persistance with going back to the doctors and hassling them I was given a barium swallow and oesophageal manometry test which finally confirmed I had achalasia. My condition gradually worsened until I could hardly even swallow water and ended up in A&E dehydrated towards the end. I was then given the choice of having the surgery or balloon dilation. I chose the latter as had been through lung surgery (pleurectomy for collapsed lung) 2 years ago (also wondering if anyone else with achalasia has had this type of lung surgery - could this have even caused achalasia?).

I had the balloon dilation exactly 2 weeks ago to the day, under sedation and the whole thing was over really quickly, there was hardly any pain, just a sharp pain when they inflated the balloon and the usual discomfort with endoscopy. I have been able to eat anything I wanted to since the procedure without any problems (even pizza and burgers which is great and can drink a beer to wash it all down too - healthy stuff!). Only thing is I have heartburn a bit more (probably due to pizza, burgers and beer drinking!) but am taking zoton to counteract that, but that is nothing compared to not being able to swallow. I just hope the effects last a good while as have read from some of the emails on this website the balloon dilation doesn't last too long in some cases.

But after months of not being able to eat, painful swallowing, chest infections from inhaling food into my lungs, waking up choking from my sleep and losing weight I feel like a totally new person and it is so great to have this relief even if it only lasts for a short while.

[i:9a8931309a]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:9a8931309a]

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello - not sure if you're still active on this but I've recently been told I have suspected achalasia. I live in Lisburn and would like to know more about your experience and how you are feeling 10 years on?



  • Posted

    Hey I'm also from Lisburn! It's interesting to see so many people from Northern Ireland suffer from this condition. When I was diagnosed with the condition he said he diagnosed 3 other people in the same week as me. That's a lot for the size of our country.

  • Posted


    I am currently at the stage you were at 11 years ago. I have been given the option of balloon dilution or keyhole surgery after many appointments with GPs and various consultants. Endless endoscopys, barium  swallows and tubes down my nose! Can you shed some light on more up to date progress? I too am 32 from NI and suffering same symptoms, how strange for such a rare condition. 

    My main concern is how much it has developed since first symptoms which were initially sharp pains to vomiting to coughing up food and breathing it into my lungs in my sleep to the stage I am at now where every single swallow of solid or liquid is a struggle all in all it's been about 5 years now from first symptom.

    I think I am in good hands with the last consultant I visited, though and he seems to have got the ball rolling with surgery or balloon options. 

    Any advice is very much appreciated.



    • Posted

      Hi Mick. Sorry for what you are going through. I had a rough 5 years with achalasia

      Last 2 years were horrible. In June of 2016 I had the Heller myotomy. Everything went good with the surgery. Still had to be careful with certain foods. Mainly bread and rice. My symptoms are now starting to start up again. Not as bad as before but it's getting there. I do still inhale stuff in my lungs while asleep. That part is worse. Try not to eat as least 4 hours before going to bed. Keep a journal of what you eat so you know what to watch out for. Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any questions you might havr


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