Living With Achalasia

Living With Achalasia



What the heck is Achalasia?

Achalasia is a rare disorder that makes it difficult for food and liquid to pass into your stomach. It effects 1 out of 100,000 people. Its a motility disorder of the esophagus . Its a swallowing disorder. 

Achalasia occurs when nerves in the esophagus become damaged. As a result, the esophagus loses the ability to squeeze food down, and the muscular valve between the esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) doesn't fully relax — making it difficult for food to pass into your stomach.

There's no cure for achalasia. But symptoms can usually be managed with minimally invasive therapy or surgery. 


What Causes Achalasia?


This condition may be hereditary, or it may be the result of an autoimmune condition. With this type of condition, your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. The degeneration of nerves in your esophagus often contributes to the advanced symptoms of achalasia. 

I have both of these situations, My Great Uncle Frank has Achalasia and I also have another autoimmune condition Celiac Disease. Nice!! So the moments when I can eat  it has to be Gluten Free! (Insert Sarcasm)


What are the symptoms?

(These are My Symptoms)


  • Intense pain or discomfort eating
  • Pain or discomfort in your chest  i.e. Chest pains like your having a heart attack.
  • Esophageal muscle spasms
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Tightness of the Jaw
  • Heart Burn
  • Weight Loss
  • Blackouts
  • Tingling in my hands and feet

What is the Treatment?


Well there are several choices. There is non-surgical which would be a Balloon Dilation or Surgery.

 

(A) Heller Myotomy- is a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgical procedure used to treat achalasia. Achalasia is a disorder of the esophagus that makes it hard for foods and liquids to pass into the stomach.

The Heller myotomy is essentially an esophagomyotomy, the cutting the esophageal sphincter muscle, performed laparoscopically.

(B) POEM Is like the Heller Myotomy but done laparoscopic, so there is no incision to the out side of the body. 

I have had my throat stretched 2 times and have done the Heller Myotomy once.  This helped for a bit. I guess I am one of the lucky ones that is having symptoms like chest pains and throat squeezing still.


My Search for Relief of these symptoms.


When I first had these symptoms I tried Valerian Root. It was such a blessing a wonderful herb that helped my spasms. Valerian Root is an herb that has anti-spasmodic properties so it helps with calming my spams down. The only issue I had a the time of taking it was it smelled of DIRTY FEET. Seriously! I took it for so long and often my body started to reject it. UGGG on the search again for something to help me with the pain of these symptoms so I turned to my Gastro Doctor. He had prescribed me Hyoscyamine this is a little pill that quickly melts under my tongue its suppose to help stop my chest pains. That was the plan but these pills don't always work.

So, I have had 2 balloon dilation procedures and a Heller Myotomy and tried a natural and prescriptions. I am on the search of something that can give me relief. I am a massage therapist and an aromatherapist so naturally I am drawn to a more natural approach for relief. My job is well physical to say the least I am not just a massage therapist I am an Ashiatsu therapist. I hang from bars suspended from the ceiling and massage people with my feet. Sounds amazing right! it is divine. My upper body is super tight, this doesn't help my squeezing esophagus but I LOVE What I do.   

There are three ways you can receive the benefits of essential oils. 

  • Breathing or inhaling through your mouth or your nose
  • Through your skin
  • Internally 

                               Inhalation is great way to help calm the anxiety you might get when first start to notice the first symptoms of an episode of a chest pain. To use the inhalation technique add a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser or simply add a few drops of essential oil to a tissue. 

When you apply essential oils through the skin it only takes 5 mins to reach your blood stream. I know crazy right, essential oils are powerful! Making a roller ball blend is perfect to travel with. When I start to feel that squeezing and tightness kicking in I start to roll on my blend up and down my esophagus. Creating a blend that helps calm the muscle spasms and chill you out at the same time is my goal. I love using a blend of basil, wintergreen, lavender and marjoram. Yummy! 


Internally I would add one drop of German Chamomile to a brown sugar cube and add it to a cup of hot chamomile and peppermint tea with coconut almond milk. This tea would really relax my muscles as well as chill me out. I tried this two times it was great, I feel asleep super fast. The third time however I was at work and used a Styrofoam cup to brew my tea in and well when I dropped the sugar cube with blue chamomile in the oil stuck to the cup and started to eat through the cup. DUHHH I obviously wasn't using my brain. So I dumped it in a glass after i realized it and added another sugar cube with blue chamomile and i guess I swallowed a lot at once because my throat burned. I instantly grabbed a spoonful of honey and it coated my throat and stopped the burning. Next time I will just skip the tea and just add a drop of blue chamomile to a teaspoon of honey and take it.  


Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function, and looks at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance. The overall aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body's equilibrium.

I decided to try acupuncture to see if it would help my symptoms. Click the video below to see my results.

Don't stop searching for natural treatments out there to help you get relief of your symptoms. You might just find relief like I have. Let's hope these different techniques keep helping my symptoms. 

Many Blessings