Achalasia in Dallas, TX

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Achalasia is a disorder that can make it difficult for individuals to pass food or liquid from the mouth to the esophagus. This rare disorder occurs when the nerves in a person's esophagus become damaged, which paralyzes the esophagus and, over time, makes it impossible to squeeze food into the stomach. This leads food to collect in the esophagus, sometimes fermenting, then wash back up into the mouth, leaving a bitter taste. While some people think this may be heartburn, it's something entirely different. While there is no cure for achalasia, it can usually be managed with an endoscopy. For more information on achalasia and how you can find relief, contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas in Dallas, TX to find a location in your neighborhood.

At first, you may not experience many, if any, symptoms of achalasia. However, over time symptoms worsen. Common symptoms of achalasia include:

  • Dysphagia (the inability to swallow or the feeling like food or drink is stuck in the throat)
  • Regurgitating
  • GERD (commonly known as heartburn)
  • Burping
  • Chest pain
  • Nightly coughing
  • Pneumonia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may want to get in touch with our practice, as our network of GI specialists are trained to help you find relief from such issues.

Achalasia is sometimes misdiagnosed or overlooked because its symptoms mirror those of other GI issues. However, our team at Digestive Health Associates of Texas is trained to identify and treat achalasia. To test for this condition, we may perform one of three tests.

  • Esophageal manometry: This tests for muscle contractions in the esophagus when you swallow and identifies how well the lower esophageal sphincter opens and relaxes when you swallow.
  • Esophagram: This is an x-ray of the upper digestive system that allows up to see a silhouette of your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine that will help us identify any issues.
  • Upper GI endoscopy: During this procedure, we insert a thin, pliable tube through your throat into the esophagus so we can look for blockages and more.

When treating achalasia, we will always attempt to find a nonsurgical treatment. For many of our Dallas, TX patients, we can perform a pneumatic dilation, which is when a balloon is inserted into the esophageal sphincter and inflated to help enlarge the opening. This is an outpatient procedure using sedation that can be performed relatively quickly. However, it may be necessary to have the procedure repeated within five years or so.

Another treatment option could include BOTOX®. BOTOX is a muscle relaxant that can be injected into the esophageal sphincter to help relax the muscles. This procedure will typically need to be repeated about every six months and is often only suggested for patients who do not qualify for pneumatic dilation.

Alternatively, there are medications and surgical options available, but these often aren't suggested unless pneumatic dilation or BOTOX are unsuccessful. Our skilled team can help you decipher which treatment method is right for you.

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If you are experiencing difficulties swallowing or seem to always have the sensation that there is food or drink stuck in your throat, it could be a sign that you have achalasia. This condition can be very uncomfortable and may even cause issues if it hinders you from getting the nutrients you need. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, we are proud to let you know that our network of GI physicians helps individuals with achalasia find relief from their symptoms. For more information on how we can help you, contact our Dallas, TX office so we can help you find a GI specialist in your area.

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