Start of Achalasia

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Ive been thinking to how my achalasia started and I somehow feel that it is triggered by a traumatic event or high stress levels. I was stalked my freshman year of high school and had a period of time where I started to not eat as much, then all of the sudden I got really sick and couldn't eat for 3 days without the food coming up I would get really bad nausea. Basically everything after that became progressively worse. I feel like it was somehow associated with that really stressful point in my life.

Also as a side note I would get the flu every year for the past couple of year during the winter time. When i was sick and had a bad fever my swallowing felt completely normal. As I recovered from the flu my achalasia was completely back and I could barely swallow. This makes me think somehow achalasia is a immune disorder where somehow the body attacks the esophagus specifically and when I was sick my body was busy fighting off the flu to attack my esophagus.

These are just my observations. Does anyone have similar stories or just input on this?

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  • Posted


    Strange, but I was thinking about this just yesterday - how interesting it might be for us to consider possible causes... We are after all the perfect study group. Who knows, It could actually be useful data in the future. I know I have heavily contemplated this in the past..

    Certainly Kayla I see similarities with your account. For me I have often related the spasms to a short single highly stressful event, which was the first time I experienced them..It took me only a week or so to recover psychologically; but I had what felt like re occurring pains (attacks maybe) every few months; which slowly turned to weekly..2 years later My swallowing ability deteriorated fast - over about 2 months. This could all be coincidental of course, and not related to that one event...

    I do recall having the occasional fatigue episode that I instinctively thought was my body saying slow down - immune system busy!

    I share your experience re flu or other illnesses. I can think of a several times with a flu or infection where my swallowing has vastly improved. Which made me think there was another element involved. As you say, ones immune system might get otherwise diverted. That has crossed my mind several times...

    I have always been a very positive person on the surface and still am, but I have also wondered if I was somehow depressed in some way - at a level unknown to me..

    I have read about the lack of nerves and ganglion cells etc that are exhibited with Achalasia; but I think that could be either cause or effect. I mean if the signal to swallow has somehow been made deficient then maybe such cells could die off naturally... Obviously mostly speculation, so only my own subjective account.. I am not a medical professional! Sometimes wish I wassmile

    Also, I noticed after really heavy chest exercises - bench pressing, my swallowing would/does feel normal for maybe a whole 10 mins.. I thought this was likely due to increased blood flow to my chest area which is interesting.. Although I have also noticed the same if Adrenaline is running- from shocking news or highly responsive situation. Whatever that means, I am sure it doesn't mean its wise to turn into a weightlifting adrenaline junkie - that would probably end badlysmile

    Even if there is a psychological root, the physical impact is real; and that impact is clearly not easy to rectify. I knew a chap that was researching Achalasia to try and help his son. He was convinced that Achalasia is related directly to the fight or flight response. In our case (he thought) the body is 'stuck' in flight - where smooth muscles tense until the threat is removed. This being the opposite of flight where smooth muscle over relaxes..

    I know I would be really interested to try and grow this thread, and see if any good can come of it...

    Wishing you all healthy karma,

    Neil (UK)

    • Posted

      Thank you for your comment. It's interesting to see others with achalasia with similar stories. Maybe one day hopefully we will all find the root cause of this and maybe even a cure as well.

    • Posted

      Thank you for starting this thread! Hopefully we will get some more personal feelings and opinions on the subject... Enough responses might suggest some correlations... It's interesting if nothing else smile N.

  • Posted

    I do not think that anyone knows the cause for certain, and there may be more than one cause, depending on individuals.   There is speculation about it being linked with viral infections, the 'varicella zoster' virus that is linked with chicken pox and shingles, measles, possibly a genetic link, autoimmune process issues, general motility problems or lack of blood supply to the nerve endings.  

    ?To the extent that it is associated with nerves that drive the peristaltic muscles, stress and nervous tension does form a link that makes the condition worse.   If one has a traumatic shock that has an effect on the stomach digestion, I could envisage that this might be a large contributory factor.   It would, I suppose, be something that caused the lower oesophageal sphincter to clamp tight shut.

    It would indeed be a really good thing if this could be researched properly, as the condition does not receive much attention from the medical world.



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