Oesophageal Patients Association
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Achalasia

Hello, I am new here. I was diagnosed with Achalasia and recommended to have a Botox injection in the gullet. All prepped up for procedure, had a chat with a doctor and told him, although others seemed to view my condition as troublesome, I had said all along my symptoms were not severe. He seemed surprised and viewed it with a 'if it's not broken why fix it' attitude. Told me to to home and the hospital would get me back to review situation in six months! Previous doctors had said I needed it in spite of my protest of being little troubled with the condition, the last doctor took the view the injection could be considered again in 6 months, hope I took the right decision to go along with the last doctor - he offered me a decision to go with previous advice or not and I chose to wait for 6 months.

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Quite a few people manage achalasia without these interventions, so I think you probably have made a good decision for now. There is an Achalasia meet up group and a page on the OPA website that you might find helpful.

Botox injections can be helpful but, on the whole, they tend to offer temporary relief rather than a permanent solution, but that does not mean to say that they would not be a perfectly good approach for your situation.

This is far easier said than done, but if you can try and relax around food, avoid situations where you have to eat in a hurry or when you are tense, and avoid food that has a stringy texture, or skins (eg tomatoes) you may find it more manageable.

The important thing is to maintain your nutrition levels, and not to let your oesophagus get too 'baggy', a situation that can develop if food (eg bread, rice)congeals in your oesophagus because it won't pass your lower oesophageal sphincter valve into your stomach. But it does not sound like you are anywhere near that stage yet.

You may also have to be careful about taking any pills because they are often designed to be absorbed from your stomach. So medication in liquid form can be helpful. Pharmacists can help with this.

The big advantage is that you have been diagnosed and that you have a route into the specialist to sort things out if it becomes worse in the future.

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Thank you so much for advice, much appreciated

June Rourke

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One thing I have been trying to check out, is there any possibility of somebody 'catching' achalasia e.g. drinking from the same cup, kissing. Need to be sure when dealing with grandchildren. Thank you.

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No, it is not contagious / infectious at all. The cause is not really known, but the condition is associated with the nerve endings that help drive the muscles that propel food we have eaten down from the throat into the stomach (peristalsis).

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Thank you. It is wonderful to be able to pose a question and get a reply so quickly. Will try not to abuse this facility with too many questions!

June R.

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