For those who have issues with heartburn and/or other stomach issues, the foods that they eat may blame for this pain. For many people, pain is not something that affects their entire life.
While others are going to find that this pain makes it hard to leave their home, go to work, or have a night out with friends or family. One of the possible issues that a person could suffer from is achalasia. What is achalasia?
This is a rare disorder seen in the esophagus. The main problem with this disorder is that the esophagus is enlarged making it harder to push the food down into the stomach.
Also, the lower esophageal sphincter that is located at the end of the esophagus into the opening of the stomach will not relax properly.
Thus, it can make it harder for food to go into the stomach, and also it does not allow the sphincter to remain close, which can often result in food coming back up the esophagus.
This illness is also known as cardiospasm, dyssynergia esophagus, esophageal a peristalsis, and megaesophagus. Those who have this issue often find that they cannot function in everyday life before getting some treatments. Thus, it has become a serious issue!
More about Achalasia
For those who have achalasia, the cause is not known. The medical world has stated that this happens when the esophageal muscle losses its ability to perform normally. However, why this happens is still a mystery.
Some of the more common symptoms felt with achalasia include:
- Difficulty with swallowing
- Regurgitation of undigested food
- Chest pain that is often like heartburn
- Pneumonia from the retained food causing issues
To diagnose this type of issue, doctors will take a look at the esophagus, as well as look at the symptoms that a person may have.
A Few Tips to Deal
For those who have achalasia, there are a few tips that you can utilize to deal with this issue. These tips include:
- Eat smaller meals and eat more frequently to help keep your digestion working. Eating one huge meal can make your illness act up even more due to the stress that is being put on the valve and the esophagus.
- Eat your food slowly! Eating fast can lead to not chewing properly, which is a huge issue for those with this illness.
- Be sure that you chew your food thoroughly
- Do not eat late at night, as laying down can make it easier for the food to come back up the esophagus.
- Moist foods are better for eating, as they can easily go down the esophagus.
- Try to avoid super cold drinks as this can make the reflux reaction a bit worse.
- Always drink while eating to help the food to go down better, this is especially true when eating dry and coarse foods.
With these tips in mind, you can start to have a life that is not going to be a life in which you must watch what you eat and worry about how you may feel.
Foods to Avoid
Most doctors are going to tell a person that with the issues that are associated with achalasia, they are going to find that they often have issued no matter what they eat.
Thus, there are no certain foods that must be avoided if you want a full and productive life. However, there are some foods that a person can avoid as they can make the illness feel worse. These foods can include:
- Fatty foods instead opt for leaner meats like chicken and fish
- Avoid spicy foods as this can irritate the esophagus, making the symptoms that much worse!
- Do not chew gum as this is allowing you to ingest more air, which in turn can lead to more problems.
What doctors and medical professionals suggest is that whatever a person eats, they chew their food to the consistency of a thick soup. This is going to make it easier for the person to digest this food.
Some find that they can still eat spicy or fatty foods with ease if they are chewed properly. Most doctors focus on the importance of chewing food as it should be chewed to aid in the digestion process.
For those who do have achalasia, treating this is going to be with trial and error. What works for one person, may not work for another, thus doctors often look at the individual before suggesting as to what can be done.
Here are a few of the ideas that a doctor may consider when treating you:
- A new diet plan is thought out by a nutritionist to ensure that you are getting proper nutrients while avoiding those foods that could make your symptoms worse.
- Medications that can be given include calcium channel blockers or long-acting nitrates.
- Botox injections have been shown to help paralyze the muscle, this is injected into the LES to help relax the valve opening, allowing it to work properly. This is done in surgery and it will have to be redone every three months or so.
- Pneumatic dilation is a surgery that allows the doctor to view the esophagus, then put an air-filled balloon into the valve between the esophagus and stomach. This balloon is then inflated to help get everything back in order.
- A myotomy may be performed, which is a surgery that will cut the muscles of the valve. This is meant to be a long-term relief option for those who suffer from this illness.
The options are numerous and a doctor may try everything they can before having to utilize the surgery options.
Many people find that they can live their lives fully with these options, and only end up with surgery once they get older and no longer respond to diet changes and mediations.