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Functional disorders of the esophagus occur when a wave of contractions sequenced, transferring food from the throat to the stomach is disturbed.
- achalasia – which occurs due to weakened peristalsis; is a rare disorder of the lower esophageal sphincter, making it difficult to move food into the stomach,
- diffuse esophageal spasm, which causes painful spasms of the esophagus,
- hypertension of the lower esophageal sphincter – when are being felt chest pains and difficulties in swallowing,
- the other disorders that may be associated with other diseases.
Functional esophageal disorders are difficult to treat, as they are diverse and are rare, and often do not show any signs of damage to the esophagus.
The symptoms of functional disorders of the esophagus
People suffering from functional disorders of the esophagus usually experience difficulty in swallowing and pain in the chest. Very often it starts with problems in swallowing solid food and later also fluids. Other symptoms include:
- chest heaviness,
- acid reflux,
- sometimes there are also gas and bloating,
- at the excessive length of disorders appears lack of appetite and weight loss.
Painful spasms of the esophagus can be mild or severe, frequent or occasional (can last a short time or a good few minutes). Patients often complain of a nocturnal cough.
Functional disorders of the esophagus can result in scarring in the esophagus, and that can be subsequently an increased risk of cancer of the esophagus. Other complications are also a frequent coughing, laryngitis, and asthma.
The causes of functional disorders of the esophagus
The cause of functional diseases of the esophagus is not entirely established. Theories say that it might be related to the imbalance of chemical substances in the body but also are associated with nerve signals and compression of the vagus nerve brain stem.
Physicians and surgeons suggest that functional disorders of the esophagus, can be caused by other disease conditions like diabetes, but often they are related to the emotional state of the patient, because it occurs as a result of severe stress, broad experience, etc.
Factors supporting the development of functional disorders of the esophagus is:
- anxiety, depression,
- older age,
- excessive use of tobacco.
Diagnosis and treatment of functional disorders of the esophagus
Because on the basis of symptoms, it ‘s hard to assess unambiguously functional disorders of the esophagus, diagnosis requires additional tests like:
- MII and others.
Functional disorders of the esophagus is a serious discomfort for the patient and are frequently not associated with severe symptoms.
In the treatment, are among others used various recommendations, such as:
- eating smaller meals,
- meals early enough before going to sleep – giving them a chance to reach the stomach,
- sleeping with the head raised above (even in a sitting position),
- in the case of obese people, it is recommended to drop kilos of extra-curricular,
- limiting alcohol consumption and smoking,
- look for psychiatric help for anxiety and depression.
Depending on the causes of functional disorders of the esophagus, important is application of appropriate treatment methods, among which there may be mentioned:
- medications (muscle relaxants, antidepressants),
- botox injections,
- ultimately, it is necessary a surgical intervention.