Diffuse Esophageal Spasm
Esophageal spasm may is a condition wherein the muscles of the esophagus fails to relax completely and there is also an erratic movement or contractions which does not allow the food particles or bolus to pass through to the stomach. The motility of the esophagus becomes dysfunctional thus giving rise to signs and symptoms like the following:
- Chest pain which resembles that of a heart attack. Heavy feeling in the chest which may radiate to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw and even at the back. Chest pain is indistinguishable with that of a heart attack so if this is the first time you feel this kind of pain, be sure to have the possibility of a heart attack ruled out. Check out with your cardiologist.
- Difficulty of swallowing food accompanied with pain and feeling of a stuck food particle in the neck or the chest.
- Symptoms of GERD or acid reflux such as heartburn, regurgitation of food, etc.
Basically there are two main types of Esophageal Spasms- one type is called Nutcraker Esophagus and the one this article will discuss is DES or Diffuse Esophageal Spasm.
Difference Between Esophageal Spasms
Diffuse Esophageal Spasm signs and symptoms are basically similar to the general signs and symptoms mentioned earlier on. The main difference of Diffuse Esophageal Spasm from Nutcracker Esophagus is that the latter has an organized manner of contraction in pushing foods down to the stomach- meaning, segments of esophagus contract progressively. In DES, contractions are erratic. There are simultaneous contractions in various esophageal segments. Thus, dysphagia is more characterized and presented in DES than in NES.
Diffuse Esophageal Spasm is often diagnosed with radiologic procedures like barium contrast X-ray which will show a corkscrew appearance of the esophagus, indicating the simultaneously contracting segments of the esophagus.
Treatment of an Esophageal Spasm
Calcium Channel blockers as well as nitrate drugs are the most commonly prescribed drugs to combat erratic muscle contractions and well as pain, respectively. Potent analgesics may also be given but can be addicting and the person may be rendered dependent to the drug when used for quite a while. In rare cases where Diffuse Esophageal Spasm cannot be treated by drugs and lifestyle changes, a surgical cut along the length of the esophagus called Esophageal Myotomy may be performed.
Ask your doctor about the treatment options that are available for you. Do not miss any scheduled check-ups with your doctor to be periodically assessed with how you respond to Diffuse Esophageal Spasm treatments. You can check out our link below for some great ideas of curing these types of ailments naturally with remedies.