Achalasia is a disorder that prevents people from eating and drinking. The disorder takes place in the esophagus and does not allow food to pass into the stomach. The esophagus is compromised and is no longer available to transfer food to the appropriate organs. This happens due to damage done to the nerves in the esophagus and is not curable.
Doctors do not know the exact cause of achalasia, but they believe that it stems from a virus. Cancer in the upper stomach, or esophagus, as well as a parasite infection can also cause achalasia. This disorder is very rare and can occur at any age. Achalasia is more common in older or middle-aged adults, and it can be inherited.
First, symptoms are mild, and then grow worse. Common symptoms of achalasia are:
- Coughing while lying down
- Chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Weight loss
There are different ways to treat achalasia, but most of the treatments include surgery. Now, doctors can perform a minimally invasive surgery to help patients with achalasia. This is one of the first of its kind in the region performed through a natural opening in the body rather than an incision. â??When we swallow, itâ??s important that foods and liquids move through the esophagus into the stomach,â?? Dr. Faris M. Murad, was quoted as saying. â??Patients with achalasia develop chest pain, and sometimes the problems are so severe that patients get liquid in their lungs, causing pneumonia. But the main difficulty is that food and liquids tend to fill the esophagus and then are regurgitated.â?? Some patients get treated with drugs or with a procedure that involves inflating a balloon to stretch the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. About half receive laparoscopic surgery, which involves many keyhole incisions in the chest and abdomen. The new procedure was first performed in Japan and is part of a trend to make surgery increasingly less invasive.