Waking up choking during the night? (achalasia)

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Hello, I had a POEM procedure done a few years ago for my Achalasia and currently I'm experiencing moments during the night where I wake up gasping for air and feeling constricted of breathing. I know its a result of my procedure because I never had a issue with sleep before. I don't know if its sleep apnoea or just food coming back up. Does anyone else who has had achalasia experience this too? It seems like my health has really declined since being diagnosed with Achalasia and that the POEM procedure was a fix but not a solution because it feels as if I'm getting worse in other ways as a result of it. My teeth feel weaker because of the acid reflux. I still can't eat without struggling to swallow. My chest pains are worsening and no doctor takes me serious enough to find a medication to relieve the pain. I'm struggling to sleep without choking or acid reflux burning in my throat. I feel like it's such a strange condition, achalasia. While I am beyond grateful to be able to eat and drink, it feels like overtime the affects of the condition will cause my health to worsen.

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5 Replies

  • Edited

    I get this and I had the POEM surgery in 2019. The ENT doctor told me it is "silent gerd". It is silent because I d not always get the burning and do not have warning. It is the acid gushing into my throat causing choking, coughing and sometimes I loose my breath and cannot get air for probably moments but feels like minutes. It is horrible as it feels like you cannot breath. I now prop my mattress up by putting pillows underneath it to lift my head higher. Helps but I still find myself getting up when this happens and try to sleep on the couch sitting up. I do take Pataloc as needed and it does help with this gush.

  • Edited

    I'm sorry to hear that, I'm curious as to your age and length of knowing Achalasia .

    I've had the Heler Myot and the Poem , but still can't get relief. I understand.

    One thing you might want to try is being very vigilant on keeping your head propped up

    at night. I would find myself sliding down and waking laying normally on the bed. Because

    you have slept that way for most of your life, of course don't eat before bed and don't lay around

    when you don't have to. You really can have so much time laying or close to before your kicking

    that stuff up! eat stay on your feet get that stuff past your stomach because when you lay down

    you only have so much time so use it to sleep. Propped up! Exercise I know it's hard but things will

    get better! Also chew the the hell of everything you put in your mouth even water. Stay away from

    solids for awhile and you will be fine. I have improved and I have been dealing with this since I was 28

    I'm 57! I just decided to get a PEG Placement(feeding tube) to help me get some weight back and

    look for some advice from people that have done it. I'm feeling pretty good but it's not enough with this

    pain in the ass condition that will never go away, so get on it work it and you can have a enjoyable

    life not normal but.. It will get better and ask your Dr to get you some Famotidine or Pantoprazole if would help. Just be positive!

    • Posted

      thank you so much for your kind uplifting words! I'm 26 and my symptoms started in 2016. 2017 I was lucky enough to get POEM but of course its results has been challenging. Indeed, there are solutions to cope better. You are a trooper to have gone so long with it! All we can do is live with it and find a way around to enjoy living the life

  • Edited

    Hi Callmesonia,

    I am sorry to hear you are struggling. I cannot offer any advice sadly bit wanted to say I have had these episodes for a few years now. I have only recently been diagnosed, so had no treatment but this was 1 of my most scary symptoms.

    I always sleep sitting up now.

    I hope you can find a way that is comfortable to rest as it really is draining. You are not alone with this horrid condition.

    All the best


    • Posted

      so sorry to hear you're going through the challenges Achalasia brings and i can only imagine how daunting and scary the experience it can be especially when you have no control over it

      hopefully you can find the best treatment that suits you and make the best of life

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