Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, he or she will perform a physical examination and tests that allow him or her to determine if it is achalasia since the symptoms are similar to other digestive system ailments:
- Upper endoscopy: to help define if there is a partial obstruction of the esophagus or take a tissue sample to test for reflux complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.
- Esophagogram: to view the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, as well as to assess a possible obstruction of the esophagus.
- Esophageal manometry: which allows measuring muscular contractions of the esophagus when swallowing, the esophagus muscles’ strength, and the correct opening of the esophageal sphincter when swallowing.
At this time, there is no cure for achalasia, but it can be managed with the right treatment for your age, general health, and the level of disease progression. In general, medical management consists of stretching the opening of the esophageal sphincter so that food and drink are transported without any problem to the stomach, through:
- Calcium channel blockers and nitrates that help dilate the narrow part of the esophagus.
- Muscle relaxants.
- Pneumatic dilatation, which involves inserting a balloon into the esophageal sphincter through endoscopy to enlarge the esophagus opening.
- Botox injections.
- Laparoscopic Heller myotomy, where the muscle of the esophageal sphincter is cut to allow food to move with greater ease into the stomach.
- Oral endoscopic myotomy, in which a tube is inserted through the mouth and down the throat to make an incision in the esophagus and then cut the esophageal sphincter muscle.
In both surgical procedures, gastroesophageal reflux may occur later, so your doctor may perform a fundoplication at the same time, which is a minimally invasive surgery, to prevent this disease. In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.