Esophageal Spasms

by Sam Meadow on February 18, 2011

Esophageal Spasms: How To Treat and Prevent Them From Happening?

Esophageal Spasms are fairly uncommon nowadays compared with other more common and prevalent GI disorders, however, they are equally hazardous to our health which is why we have to take note of the signs and symptoms that come along with this disease. More importantly, we have to be familiar as to how this disorder can be treated and prevented from occurring.

Background of the Disease

Esophageal Spasms occur due to irregular and uncoordinated muscular contractions of the esophagus. This leads to the inability of the food to be pushed inside the stomach for further digestion. This gives rise to signs and symptoms like difficulty and pain upon swallowing, burning sensation in the center of the chest, as well as a feeling that food has been stuck inside the chest.

Drug Therapy for Esophageal Spasms

There are several treatment options available for Esophageal Spasms.

Pain Relievers. Drug therapy is the most common form of treatment and this includes drug treatment for pain through the use of nitroglycerine or isosorbide dinitrate.

Muscle Relaxants. Apart from symptomatic treatments, anticholinergic drugs may also be used. These drugs lessen the occurrence of muscle contractions and help relax the esophagus for proper facilitation of food passage.

GERD Drugs. Since Esophageal Spasms also commonly occur in people with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or simply acid reflux, treating this underlying cause will also help cure the spasms.

Anti-anxiety Medications. In a number of cases, these spasms have been linked to occurrence of panic attacks and anxiety and this instance, treatment may include anti-anxiety drugs like Diazepam or Lorazepam to treat the essential cause.

Invasive Procedures to Treat Spasms

These procedures may be employed, upon approval of the patient, in case the disease will not properly respond to drug therapy. First is the use of Pneumatic Dilators- a catheter device with a balloon on the tip which is inflated. This device aids in widening the opening of esophagus for proper food passage. Another medical device called the “Bougie” may be used in the same principle with the Pneumatic Dilators.

The surgical approach is through performing Esophagomyotomy. This entails the surgeon to make an incision in the esophagus which is expected to prevent the complete contraction of the muscles of the esophageal wall.

Prevention of Esophageal Spasms

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold. As this disease has been found out to be aggravated by taking in extremely hot or cold foods or beverages, avoiding such foods can help you prevent Esophageal Spasms from occurring.

Chew Slowly. Swallow Surely. It is suggested that foods be chewed properly and swallowed slowly to prevent unnecessary stress to the esophagus.

Manage Stress and Tension Well. Stress has also been known to contribute to having these spasms, as well as anxiety and tension. It is best to keep yourself relaxed when you start to feel tensed and stressed out.

Esophageal Spasms can be very bothersome and can lead to several complications when left untreated. It is best to comply with your physician’s orders and instructions to steer clear from this disorder and its accompanying discomforts.

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