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Doctor insights on: Esophageal Spasm

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Dr. Chad Levitt
98 doctors shared insights

Esophageal Spasm (Overview)

An inappropriate spasm of esophagus can be very painful.


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What are the most common symptoms of esophageal spasm?

What are the most common symptoms of esophageal spasm?

Chest pain: It can feel like heartburn, but many people describe a pain that is similar to "angina" (which is just latin for strangling). An unpleasant squeezing or tightness in the chest. It's sometimes relieved by a belch, or antacids. Drugs like nitrates and calcium channel blockers are also effective, but not uniformly so. Sometimes antidepressants (yes, those!) work to reduce the spasms. ...Read more

Dr. Chad Levitt
98 doctors shared insights

Esophageal Spasm (Overview)

An inappropriate spasm of esophagus can be very painful.


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My father was diagnosed with diffuse esophageal spasm. What does this mean?

Does Dad have DES?: Spastic motility disorders are defined by esophageal manometry, but the intermittent nature of these abnormalities like DES frequently requires other esophageal tests before starting treatment. Of course, pain of DES can mimic coronary artery disease sufficiently that a cardiac evaluation should first rule out heart & vessel problems. Also, address associated heartburn & irritable bowel syndrome. ...Read more

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What does it mean to have esophageal spasms?

What does it mean to have esophageal spasms?

Muscle spasm: The esophagus is a tube with muscle that connects the mouth to the stomach. It moves the food toward the stomach but the muscles can contract to much in spasm if irritated. ...Read more

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How is esophageal spasm treated?

How is esophageal spasm treated?

See below: If esophageal spasms are not controlled with acid suppression alone, calcium channel blockers and nitrates are often used with varying success. ...Read more

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What is the best treatment for esophageal spasm?

What is the best treatment for esophageal spasm?

Depends: If esophageal spasm is caused by acid reflux then antacids may help. Sometimes calcium channel blockers and nitrates. Botox injections have been used in severe cases. ...Read more

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What kind of pills or treatment can somebody get for diffuse esophageal spasm?

What kind of pills or treatment can somebody get for diffuse esophageal spasm?

If medications fail: If medications fail, meaning the disease is refractor to maximal medical therapy, then a long esophageal myotomy, or cutting of the esophageal muscles can be performed. This can be performed either thoracoscopically, laparoscopically or a combination of the two. ...Read more

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How is esophageal spasm treated?

See below: If esophageal spasms are not controlled with acid suppression alone, calcium channel blockers and nitrates are often used with varying success. ...Read more

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What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Chest pain: Des that is diffuse esophageal spasms present as chest pain and or dysphagia. ...Read more

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What are the most common symptoms of esophageal spasm?

Chest pain: It can feel like heartburn, but many people describe a pain that is similar to "angina" (which is just latin for strangling). An unpleasant squeezing or tightness in the chest. It's sometimes relieved by a belch, or antacids. Drugs like nitrates and calcium channel blockers are also effective, but not uniformly so. Sometimes antidepressants (yes, those!) work to reduce the spasms. ...Read more

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What leads to diffuse esophageal spasm?

True anomaly: This is a true abnormal condition or physiomechanics of the esophagus -- it is a rare condition-- and what most people experience is not a diffuse esophageal spasm but reflux esophagitis with spasm or cold induced transient esophageal contraction. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: diffuse esophageal spasm?

Esophageal spasm: Is a term to define abnormal contraction of the esophagus during times that the individual is not eating.

It could be triggered by food at temperature extremes and usually disappear spontaneously.

When present on regular basis, it should be an indication for evaluation of acid reflux, connective tissue diseases and some neurological conditions. ...Read more

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I've got diffuse esophageal spasm. What consequences should I be looking for?

Chest pain/dysphagia: Chest pain and/or difficulty swallowing and/or pain while swallowing. If you have barrett's esophagus, you're at risk for esophageal cancer. If you haven't had endoscopy yet (i assume you have since you know this diagnosis), you should see a gastroenterologist if you haven't already. ...Read more

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What is the best treatment for esophageal spasm?

Depends: If esophageal spasm is caused by acid reflux then antacids may help. Sometimes calcium channel blockers and nitrates. Botox injections have been used in severe cases. ...Read more

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My lover has just been diagnosed with diffuse esophageal spasm. I am worried but she acts like it is not a problem. Who can tell me what it means?

DES can be bad: Des is a motility disorder of esophageal function. The muscles of the esophagus forcibly tighten, typically unpredictably, resulting in severe chest pain. Distinguish this from situational esophageal spasm, "nutcracker esophagus", & of course non-esophageal causes of chest pain. She needs her gastroenterologist's advice about rx's to minimize attacks, where to go/ what to take when pain develops. ...Read more

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Natural remedies for esophageal spasm?

Spasm remedy: MAgnesium supplement of 400-800 daily. Mint tea, mint flavor in general ...Read more

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What's the most natural treatment for esophageal spasm?

Bicarb: Bicarbonate (sodium bicarbonate) of soda is the oldest, most "natural" treatment but there are so many better modern medicines, why would you want to keep suffering? ...Read more

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My father was diagnosed with diffuse esophageal spasm. What does this mean?

Does Dad have DES?: Spastic motility disorders are defined by esophageal manometry, but the intermittent nature of these abnormalities like DES frequently requires other esophageal tests before starting treatment. Of course, pain of DES can mimic coronary artery disease sufficiently that a cardiac evaluation should first rule out heart & vessel problems. Also, address associated heartburn & irritable bowel syndrome. ...Read more

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What kind of pills or treatment can somebody get for diffuse esophageal spasm?

If medications fail: If medications fail, meaning the disease is refractor to maximal medical therapy, then a long esophageal myotomy, or cutting of the esophageal muscles can be performed. This can be performed either thoracoscopically, laparoscopically or a combination of the two. ...Read more

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Hi I'm not sure how to tell the difference in a palpitation and and a esophageal spasm. These feelings aren't really "painful" just very uncomfortable?

Get a monitor done: Best way is to have an event monitor done. You should take careful notes about your symptoms (spasm, palpitations) and time of day, so that your doctor can determine whether these correlate to an arrhythmia. The esophagus is in contact with the left atrium and spasms can produce the feeling of palpitation. ...Read more

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Confusion between esophageal spasm or heart disorder?

Yes, lots: They are so similar there is an old fashioned diagnosis called "cardiospasm" for this, and also the stomach has a "cardia" so there has been confusion for a long time. Also they both can respond to nitroglycerine. You would have to be tested with ekg, possibly a stress test or an esophageal study to tell the difference. Try an antacid or antiflatulent (with simethicone) but don't risk guessing. ...Read more

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Is there often confusion between diffuse esophageal spasm and a heart disorder?

Is there often confusion between diffuse esophageal spasm and a  heart disorder?

Yes: And although diffuse esophageal spasm (des) can be quite uncomfortable, heart disease can be life threatening, and should be 'ruled out' by your md .
Des is best diagnosed by doing an esophageal motility study, where we can measure the pressures created in your esophagus spontaneously and in response to a swallow. ...Read more

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Confusion between diffuse esophageal spasm or heart disorder, what is the difference?

Confusion between diffuse esophageal spasm or heart disorder, what is the difference?

Difference: Esophageal spasm has nothing to do with the heart. It is spasm of the esophagus. Heart is a different organ. ...Read more

Esophagus (Definition)

This is the muscular structure built like a tube that connects your throat to the stomach though which food ...Read more