Achalasia is an uncommon disease. In fact, many have not heard of this condition. However, it can cause a lot of pain to those suffering from it. Achalasia has also been associated with fibromyalgia. If you experience swallowing difficulty, chest pain or heartburn, you may be suffering from achalasia in fibromyalgia.
WHAT IS ACHALASIA?
Achalasia is a condition where the muscles in your esophagus are not able to contract or relax. Contraction and relaxation of your esophagus is important for digestion. Whenever you swallow food, your esophagus expands to let the food pass through. If you suffer from achalasia, this normal process will be disrupted. Thus, food essentially gets stuck in your esophagus which can produce a lot of pain.
When this happens, it leads to a series of other symptoms. The first sign is difficulty in swallowing food regardless of whether it is liquid or solid. When food is stuck in your esophagus, your body’s natural response is to regurgitate. The food particles can travel to your lungs when you are lying down which can be dangerous. Achalasia can also cause explainable chest pain. It is also very common to experience heartburn with achalasia.
In fact, heartburn is the common link between achalasia and fibromyalgia.
WHAT CAUSES ACHALASIA IN FIBROMYALGIA?
Fibromyalgia patients are more likely to suffer from heartburn.
This is because fibromyalgia makes it difficult to exercise. The chronic fatigue and the constant pain make cardio exercise a real challenge. Hence, many fibromyalgia patients putting on extra pounds which put pressure in the esophagus and stomach. This leads to acid reflux, a type of chronic chest pain. Unfortunately, this kind of symptom is difficult to differentiate from achalasia.
Suffering from heartburn means that you may be experiencing symptoms of achalasia. However, due to the scarcity of the uncommon disease, most patients, and doctors, will assume that acid re-flux is the origin of the chest pain without considering alchalasia as the root cause.
Therefore, if you experience chest pain and acid re-flux treatment is of no use, consider screening for Achalasia. Doctors will be able to diagnose achalasia via X-ray or endoscopy.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ACHALASIA IN FIBROMYALGIA
Treatment normally depends on the type of condition that you have. If you are suffering from achalasia, your doctor may insert a balloon into your esophagus and inflate it. This forces the esophagus to open. Such procedure may have to be repeated several times if the condition reoccurs.
Some patients may need to undergo permanent surgical procedures such as Heller myotomy. This involves cutting off a portion of the esophagus to expand the space, allowing for food to be able to pass through. However, the procedure may increase your risk of developing acid reflux. Thus, your doctor may carry out a second procedure where certain portion of the stomach is wrapped to tighten the muscles. This prevents acid reflux.
On the other hand, if you are only suffering from acid reflux, the best option is to lose weight. In fact, losing even just a few pounds helps the symptoms to improve significantly.