I've been diagnosed with Achalasia and I'm not sure what treatment I should take

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I have problems swallowing both food and water. At the moment I eat normally, can manage solid foods and use lots of water to get it down. I could never eat without water. My doctor has given me a few weeks to think about what treatment I want, and listed the usual options, balloon stretch, Botox, surgery, etc.  I'm not sure what to choose.

Botox is not something I would consider, however the other treatments seem ok. He mentioned that he thinks that I would benefit most from surgery, as it has been caught early and the procedure doesn't work as well on later stage patients. I'm a little apprehensive as I am not sure if my symptoms will get worse. As it stands I have had this for as long as I can remember, and I'm 26 now. I had a little trouble with nausea and acid reflux last year, but it seems to have stopped on it's own. I'm struggling with all kinds of food, but my main problem is with foods like chocolate, ice cream, smoothies, and fruit. I will often not be able to wash it down with water, and usually puke it up after feeling like I need to burp for up to an hour. If I allow myself to burp the food comes with it. If I lean forward after eating my last meal falls out on the floor. 

I would really love to hear how other people got treated, how well it worked for them, and also any advice for managing the symptoms. 

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there

    Sorry to hear you are struggling. I am sure you have like us all found ways of coping with this condition. Everyone has had different experiences and what seems to work for one often does not for the next person!

    Personally I have had A for about 10 years now..... Have only had one balloon dilation about 8 yrs ago which is still giving me relief. Obviously I can't eat 'normally' but have adapted my eating and drinking to cope and find if I am having problems I jump up and down in the toilets for a bit etc!! Nothing is ideal I know but the OGD has worked pretty well for me.

    All the best

    Janski

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    • Posted

      Wow! 8 years of relief is great. My doctor told me the average time that the balloon stretch works for is 6 months to 3 years, so I was discouraged from taking that option. Definitely something to consider it it could potentially last that long. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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  • Posted

    Hi 

    I am 2 weeks post Robotic Hellers and it has worked really well .

    What you have explained above is exactly what I was going through .

    I was also told that surgery is the way forward as I am still young and able to recover quickly .

    The robotic procedure is less evasive and you heal with in weeks.

    I had my staples out today and I see my surgeon tomorrow for a check up .

    Where are you from , I had my surgery in the Broomfield hospital in Chelmsford .

    John 

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    • Posted

      I'm in Devon and I will most likely be having my surgery (if that's what I choose) in a small hospital locally, but I'm not sure where yet. I would love to hear how you get on, and if it works out for you. Are you in any pain?
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  • Posted

    Not in any pain really , only took pain relief for one day after surgery , still eating soft foods but they go straight down . Such a nice feeling after years of riggling around like a lunatic at meal times .

    Just bored now , as i like to run and train so I am really missing that at the moment , but hopefully a few more weeks and I will be back into my routine .

    My Surgeon is called Dr Sri Kadakamanthan , look him up hes one of the best 

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    • Posted

      Well I'm glad it's working out for you. Hopefully you'll be up and running in no time  I'll look him up if I decide to try the surgical route. Thanks smile 
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  • Posted

    Hello,

    I had my Heller's myotomy 22 years ago and it has allowed a return to 'normal eating' ever since.  Granted there are still certain foodstuffs that cause some difficulties - and I eat smaller portions / eat more slowly than once was the case;  but that is nothing compared to the pre-op scenario, when I was reduced to a liquid-only diet for 2 years (lost 10 Kgs).  Sometimes, after certain foodstuffs, I find it very beneficial to take a stroll - maybe just 10 minutes, to get the benefit of gravitational effect, to aid the progression of foodstuff into the stomach.

    The statistics seem to point to most surgery cases being successful (albeit, to varying degrees) for most people - so I don't think you should have any cause for concern if you chose this option.

    From what I've gathered on the grapevine, most other treatments for most people tend to offer less substantial improvement than the surgery option. 

    Cheers,

    Mick

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    • Posted

      Awsome, I'm glad it worked out for you. Do you get much acid reflux as a result? I'm worried about having to take pills constantly after. 
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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Acid reflux is so minimal as to be non-existent....

      It first occurred about 10 years after my op., and as such I didn't initially make any connection.  It was pretty damned painful - and I seriously thought that I was experiencing some sort of cardiac seizure  ;o)

      In practical terms, on the very rare occasions when it does occur, I invariably find that the sure-fire remedy is drinking cool milk...  ;o)

      Cheers

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