Achalasia is a disorder of the oesophagus which can make it difficult to swallow food and drink.  It is very rare with around 1 in 100,000 new patients being diagnosed each year.

With achalasia, the muscles in the oesophagus do not work properly.  These muscles usually squeeze food and drink along the oesophagus and the ring of muscles at the end releases the food into the stomach. If you have achalasia, these muscles will not contract correctly, and the muscular ring may not open properly meaning it is difficult for food and drink to pass through to the stomach and may be brought back up (regurgitated).

Symptoms, although not always experienced, can include:

  • Regurgitation (bringing food back up)
  • Choking and coughing
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Chest infections which don’t go away or come back frequently. 

If you have any of these symptoms or you are having difficulty swallowing, please contact your GP immediately as you will need to start treatment straight away.

References:

Achalasia - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Achalasia - Guts UK (gutscharity.org.uk)