From WikiMD
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.


WikiMD is the world's largest encyclopedia on nutrition, weight loss, wellness and obesity with a focus on preventing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

Health encyclopedia


The tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach is the esophagus also called the food pipe. Achalasia is a condition that makes it harder for the esophagus to move food into the stomach.

Prevalence of Achalasia

Achalasia is a rare disease with an annual incidence of approximately 1/100,000 and a prevalence rate of 1/10,000. The disease can occur at any age, with a similar rate in men and women, but is usually diagnosed between 25 and 60 years.

Causes of Achalasia

There is a muscular ring at the point where the esophagus and stomach meet. It is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, this muscle relaxes when you swallow to allow food to pass into the stomach. In people with achalasia, it does not relax as well. In addition, the normal muscle activity of the esophsagus (peristalsis) is reduced. Achalasia is caused by damage to the nerves of the esophagus.

Symptoms of Achalasis of the Esophagus

Symptoms of Achalasia include:

  • Backflow (regurgitation) of food
  • Chest pain, which may increase after eating, or may be felt as pain in the back, neck, and arms
  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing liquids and solids
  • Heartburn
  • Unintentional weight loss

Exams and Tests for Achalasia

Physical exam may show signs of anemia or malnutrition.

Tests for Achalasia include:

  • Manometry, a test to measure if your esophagus is working properly.
  • EGD or upper endoscopy, a test to examine the lining of the stomach and esophagus. It uses a flexible tube and camera.
  • Upper GI x-ray.

Diagnosis of Achalasia

The diagnosis is based on history of the disease, radiography (barium esophagogram), and esophageal motility testing (esophageal manometry). Endoscopic examination is important to rule out malignancy as the cause of achalasia.

Treatment of Achalasia

The goal of treatment is to reduce the pressure at the sphincter muscle and allow food and liquids to pass easily into the stomach. Therapy may involve:

  • Injection with botulinum toxin (Botox) -- This may help relax the sphincter muscles. However, the benefit wears off within a few weeks or months.

Medicines, such as long-acting nitrates or calcium channel blockers -- These drugs can be used to relax the lower esophagus sphincter. But there is rarely a long-term solution to treat achalasia.

  • Surgery (called a myotomy) -- In this procedure, the lower sphincter muscle is cut.
  • Widening (dilation) of the esophagus -- This is done during EGD by stretching the LES with a balloon dilator.

Prognosis of Achalasia

The outcomes of surgery and non-surgical treatments are similar. More than one treatment is sometimes necessary.

Possible Complications of Achalasia

Complications may include:

  • Backflow (regurgitation) of acid or food from the stomach into the esophagus (reflux)
  • Breathing food contents into the lungs (aspiration), which can cause pneumonia
  • Tearing (perforation) of the esophagus

Wellness that matters!

Articles on Achalasia

This article is a stub. YOU can help Wikimd by expanding it!

WikiMD Resources for Achalasia


Most recent articles on Achalasia

Most cited articles on Achalasia

Review articles on Achalasia

Articles on Achalasia in N Eng J Med, Lancet, BMJ

Media Achalasia

Powerpoint slides on Achalasia

Images of Achalasia

Photos of Achalasia

Podcasts & MP3s on Achalasia

Videos on Achalasia

Evidence Based Medicine

Cochrane Collaboration on Achalasia

Bandolier on Achalasia

TRIP on Achalasia

Clinical Trials

Ongoing Trials on Achalasia at Clinical

Trial results on Achalasia

Clinical Trials on Achalasia at Google

Books and news

Books on Achalasia

Achalasia in the news

Commentary Achalasia

Blogs on Achalasia

Patient Resources / Community

Patient resources on Achalasia

Discussion groups on Achalasia

Patient Handouts on Achalasia

Other resources

Social Media

YouTube videos

W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep & MedSpa

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U |V | W | X | Y | Z

Ad. Tired of being overweight? W8MD's insurance weight loss* program can HELP | Advertise on WikiMD

Disclaimer: The entire contents of WIKIMD.ORG are for informational purposes only and do not render medical advice or professional services. If you have a medical emergency, you should CALL 911 immediately! Given the nature of the wiki, the information provided may not be accurate and or incorrect. Use the information on this wiki at your own risk! See full Disclaimer. * Individual results may vary.