Esophageal Motility Disorders/Achalasia
What is it?
Esophageal motility disorders are a group of diseases that cause trouble swallowing. The esophagus, or food pipe, is a muscle that moves food from our mouth to our stomachs. In people with motility disorders, the esophagus does not function correctly and results in food or drink getting stuck or coming back up when swallowing. Achalasia is a type of motility disorder where one of the muscles in the esophagus does not relax correctly, so food has trouble passing.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of esophageal motility disorders and achalasia include:
- Difficulty swallowing or food getting stuck
- Regurgitation of food
- Chest pain
- Reflux or heartburn
How is it diagnosed?
Esophageal motility disorders are typically diagnosed using an Esophageal Manometry study. This study uses a special catheter that goes into your esophagus and measure how strong, fast, and coordinated your esophageal muscles are. This can help determine which esophageal dysmotility you may have that is causing your difficulty swallowing.
How is it treated?
Esophageal motility disorders are treated based on the type of disorder. Some treatments are simple lifestyle modifications, such as eating slowly and sitting upright, while others require medications or endoscopic or surgical therapies.