I am a 38 year old female who has suffered with severe c...

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I am a 38 year old female who has suffered with severe chest pain since the age of 23. The pain initially woke me up in the night and still does on occasions. I had investigations over a number of years while the pain continued as I started to suffer with a difficulty swallowing.I was initially with Achalasia and told that I should have a Hellers Myotomy and this I understood to be a large procedure which they didn't at the time routinely do via a laparoscope ( keyhole approach). I refused this and had a dilation of the Sphincter in the top of my stomach (the cardiac sphincter)and was then able to eat my food more easily. However I still suffered from chest pain and returned to see a Consultant in London ( UK) and following more tests he diagnosed Diffuse Oesophageal Spasm. I now take Nifedipine sublingually 5mg capsules for the pain and they work when I bite on them as a liquid is released under my tongue and it relives the spasm . It has been suggested that I use GTN spray as the pain is getting more severe but at the moment I will stick with what I have. Stress is a key factor in this problem and my condition worsens after a long period of stress . I think my next step in managing this will be to seek help with stress management and not taking on too much at work or personally. I hope this history helps other people facing this as it can be tough to deal with. I don't think many realise how severe the pain can be - I have had to stop my car before now as I feared I may crash due to the pain !smile

[i:f626d49293]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:f626d49293]

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  • Posted

    I totally empathise with you!..the pain is most debilitating! I have actually been in business meetings and had to run out of the room..it takes seconds to come on and it's so severe I sweat profusely and can't escape it! It also wipes you out for the rest of the day!..I would also agree that stress has been a factor in exacerbating the symptoms...I am almost guaranteed a spasm when I am over tired. As I have commented on my own posting the only thing I have found that helps instantly is gaviscon...I can't and won't go anywhere without it!
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  • Posted

    I'm a little late posting to this reply, but I really hope that somebody finds this and that it helps them cope with these awful, awful symptoms.

    I was diagnosed with achalasia, and have had the myotomy years ago. Whilst it improved swallowing, it never helped with the foodpipe spasms. I have lived with these (and Nifedipine) for twenty seven years.

    With the wisdom of age, and the skill to stop panicing with each onset, I slowly learned to listen to my body and I started to realise that with each occurence I also had a large swollen stomach. I went to see my GP with a theory - was acid trapped in my stomach with nowhere to go (for since the op, the valve allows things to pass into my stomach but will not release back - can't be sick, etc) - was the pressure therefore sending my already sensitive foodpipe into spasm??

    My GP thought it was a theory worth testing and put me onto Omeprozale. The result was amazing, and after a few days all my problems disappeared!! I have been 'normal' for the first time since my teens.

    My only word of warning, however, is that these drugs are not totally without their problems - I suffered hair loss on them (although it is said to be a very rare side effect) and there is a lot of debate about other side effects too.

    I consider that the silver lining in my cloud throughout this difficult time was that pin-pointed that acid was a problem for me. I had previously dismissed this notion thinking that as nothing passed up the foodpipe, how could it be an acid problelm? I was wrong! Knowing that this is the cause, I have been able to adopt other coping strategies and have generally been spasm free since.

    I know that not everyone has the same symptoms, but the last posting also indicated that Gaviscon helped, so maybe we've hit on something here??

    Good luck all.

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  • Posted

    AT THE MOMENT I JUST MANAGED TO DRINK SOME WATER AND SO FAR HAVE STAYED DOWN BUT FOR THE LAST 5 DAYS EVERY THING I DRINK HAS COME UP.I AM TAKING STRONG PAIN KILLERS WHICH ARE ADDICTIVE AND ITS WORRYING ME.THE DOC GAVE ME FORTISIPS WITH ALL THE GOODNESS IN THEM BUT THE TROUBLE IS THE DRINK WAS CONGEALING IN MY ASOPHIGUS IN LUMPS WHEN I BRING IT UP.SO WHAT I THINK IS THOSE LUMPS WERE ACTING LIKE A PLUG.WHAT DO U THINK.?CAN ANY BODEY HELP SO DEPPREST AND STRESSED.DAVID777.
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  • Posted

    Hi i have had oesophagus spasms for many years now. I get some seious pain in my chest up into my jaw that just gets worse before it goes away. Sometimes it wakes me out of a deep sleep in th eearly hours of he morning. I had th eNissan operation years ago because of the pains and also the fact that my food was not going down my oesophagus properly it would just get stuck and I would have to bring it back up.

    Since the operation I no longer have the problem of the food not going down properly, but I still have th epains which last about ten minutes and are very painful. I have to sit up in bed and wait for it to pass. Of late i have found that sipping cold water helps to ease it.

    This generally happens in th emiddle of the. Ight but i have had it in th eday as well and also hilst driving, you need to pull over until it's past. After having aspasm you feel like someone has fisted you in the chest and you feel fatugued, BeeJay

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