The treatment for achalasia is geared toward relaxing and opening the lower esophageal sphincter, in order to allow food to enter the stomach. The treatment of achalasia depends on the severity of the symptoms. For mild symptoms, the doctor may prescribe oral medications. For more advanced symptoms, treatment may include upper GI endoscopy or surgery. Most cases respond well to therapy.
Treatment for achalasia may include:
- Calcium channel blockers or nitrates:
- Act by decreasing pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter
- Nifedipine (Adalat)
- Isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil)
- Dilation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES):
- Using upper GI endoscopy
- Injection of botulinum toxin into the lower esophageal sphincter:
- Relaxes the sphincter so that it opens easily
- Surgery for achalasia:
- Special surgery known as Heller myotomy
- Opens the lower esophageal sphincter
Achalasia Questions For Doctor
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for achalasia
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Continue to Achalasia Home Care
- Garofalo JH, Pofahl WE. Achalasia: a brief review of treatment options and efficacy. Curr Surg. 2002 Nov-Dec;59(6):549-53. 
- Nguyen NQ, Holloway RH. Recent developments in esophageal motor disorders. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul;21(4):478-84. 
- Woltman TA, Pellegrini CA, Oelschlager BK. Achalasia. Surg Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;85(3):483-93.