What does it feel like when your esophagus spasms?
Esophageal spasms are painful contractions within the muscular tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). Esophageal spasms can feel like sudden, severe chest pain that lasts from a few minutes to hours. Some people may mistake it for heart pain (angina).
Have you ever suffered from severe chest pain that spreads to your jaw? It doesn’t have to be the result of a heart attack . You may have experienced esophageal spasm, a disorder in which the muscles of the esophagus contract irregularly. Here’s everything you need to know about esophageal spasm.
What is the esophagus?
The esophagus is a part of the human digestive system. It is a 25 cm long muscular tube that extends from the throat to the stomach, where food is transported thanks to the muscular walls lined with mucous membranes.
For some, esophageal spasm occurs so frequently that they are unable to eat and drink normally. In these cases, treatment is required.
Causes of esophageal spasm
In fact, there is no specific and clear reason for the occurrence of esophageal spasm, but some explanations tend to be due to a problem with the nerves that control the muscles of the esophagus.
Those who experienced esophageal spasm express the presence of specific stimuli that increase the level of esophageal spasm, namely:
- Varieties of food and drink, such as red wine and spicy food
- Food temperature, either too cold or too hot
- Medicines and treatment for cancer, including radiotherapy or surgery near the esophagus
- Mental illness Stress, depression or anxiety
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Types of esophageal spasms
Esophageal spasms fall into two categories:
- Diffuse esophageal spasms (DES): In which irregular contractions spread along the esophagus, causing you to regurgitate food and drink. It occurs from time to time, but it is very painful and may result in pain similar to heart disease.
- Nutcracker esophagus: These spasms are also painful and extend the length of the esophagus, but they lead to dysphagia .
Esophageal spasm risk factors
There are some factors that may make you more susceptible to developing esophageal spasm, including:
- high blood pressure
- Experiencing bouts of anxiety and depression
- Eat foods that stimulate esophageal spasm, such as red wine, spicy foods or hot and cold foods.
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- People aged 60-80 years.
Esophageal spasm symptoms and see a doctor
Esophageal spasm may be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Sharp chest pain (similar to the pain of a heart attack)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling as if something is stuck in the throat or chest
- Regurgitation or rumination of foods and drinks.
If you suffer from all or part of these symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible, as he needs to direct you to perform some tests to rule out the possibility of your illness with more serious conditions and diseases with common symptoms.
As we mentioned earlier, since the symptoms of the patient’s convulsion are similar to the symptoms of some more serious diseases – such as heart disease, for example – the doctor needs to perform some diagnostic tests to rule out that you have it first, such as a cardiac stress test and planning for example.
Tests related to the esophagus itself may include:
- Esophageal manometry : The contractions of the esophageal muscle are measured during the process of swallowing water.
- Barium swallow: It is a radiopaque material that appears in white on X-rays, so the doctor may give you a dose of barium to swallow before the X-ray examination to study the condition of your esophagus.
- Endoscopy: A medical endoscope, usually containing a light and a camera, is inserted into the esophagus through the throat to ensure it is correct.
- Esophageal acidity monitoring : This is a test that measures the acid balance in the esophagus to check if you suffer from stomach acid reflux into it.
What is the treatment of esophageal spasm?
In order to choose the most appropriate treatment, it is necessary to reach the correct diagnosis, as treatment methods vary accordingly.
For the treatment of widespread esophageal spasms, the patient may be satisfied with evaluating and studying the types of foods and their effect on them, and thus determining an appropriate diet regimen for this.
Certain lifestyle and style changes may be effective in reducing esophageal spasms, such as:
- Eat smaller meals more often
- Increase your daily fiber intake
- A for smoking cessation
- Lose weight if needed
- Not eating late at night
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Wear loose-fitting clothes that do not put pressure on the abdomen.
Other than that, there are other treatment options:
1- Natural remedies
Would natural remedies to be effective against cramping reflux, took sweat extract of licorice available in the form of powder or tablets before and after meals may well be.
You can also take peppermint oil dissolved in water or suck on peppermint pills.
The doctor may prescribe some medications for you that will relieve cramps and spasms, depending on the causes that lead to this.
If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) , your doctor may prescribe a proton pump inhibitor or a H2-receptor antagonist. But you should be aware that these options have side effects that you should study, as protein pump inhibitors may lead to kidney disease in the long term.
If anxiety and depression are the cause of esophageal spasms, your doctor will most likely prescribe antidepressants
Sometimes, Botox and calcium channel blockers can relax the muscles, making swallowing easier and reducing esophageal spasms.
Surgery is another option for more serious cases. After trying the rest of the possibilities, surgery is often an intervention that affects the muscles of the lower esophagus, such as the esophageal sphincter, which leads to the reduction of spasms resulting from it.