Knowing about the characteristic signs and symptoms of esophageal spasm lets you act promptly and deal with the condition before it gives rise to fatal complications. So learn about this condition and take precautionary measures…
As you must be aware, esophagus refers to the tube that is responsible for carrying food from the mouth to the stomach. Under normal circumstances, this tube performs the transportation of food with the help of a series of muscle contractions that are well-coordinated. However, when this tube suffers spasms, these contractions get disrupted thus, disturbing the movement of the food to the stomach. This condition may occur in two forms. The first one is known as diffuse esophageal spasm, and it gives rise to contractions that stop and start at regular intervals. And some people suffer from a series of painful contractions; a condition known as nutcracker esophagus.
How to Know if Someone is Having An Esophageal Spasm?
When the spasms occur in esophagus, it does cause many signs or symptoms. So it is important to watch out for the slightest of abnormal occurrence in the body. In most people, one of the most important and common symptoms is a pain that develops in the chest. This pain may be felt as if the chest is getting squeezed. It is not uncommon for people to take the pain for a heart attack, because it is often intense. Another obvious symptom is difficulty in swallowing. The feeling of something stuck in the throat is also common, and it occurs as a result of the food that is not moving properly through the esophagus because of the abnormal contractions. Regurgitation may accompany the above symptoms in most people.
What Triggers or Causes Esophageal Spasm and What is its Treatment?
Regarding the causes, the condition is still regarded as idiopathic. Meaning, its cause has not yet been identified. However, if we go by assumptions or possibilities purported by doctors, some kind of disruption in the nerve function that helps in the working of the esophagus to carry food, may be a contributing factor.
Treatment involves addressing factors that might make the spasm worse or aggressive. However, it is also true that, for occasional episodes, treatment isn’t necessary. Although the chest pain, as mentioned above, may appear intimidating and alarming to some people, it usually does not last more than a few minutes. But if the condition starts affecting eating or drinking, then treatment might become a necessity.
If the person is already suffering from disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or psychological problem such as depression, anxiety and the like, he would be treated to manage these conditions. For GERD, changes in diet and lifestyle, and medications may take care of things. And to cope with depression and anxiety, antidepressants may be recommended. This is because, as I have mentioned, such underlying conditions may act as triggering factors that aggravate the condition. Besides this, the patient might also be advised to take medications to relax the muscles involved in swallowing food and liquid. Doing this greatly helps in reducing the intensity of the symptoms. If conservative treatment with medications do not help, then surgery may be opted to deal with the condition.
As a closing note, a few self-care measures may help in relieving the symptoms. These may include eating foods that are warm or cooled, instead of going for too hot or too cold stuffs, and reducing and controlling stress in life. Yoga, medications, breathing exercises suit well for this purpose. And as already discussed, it is also essential to identify factors that act as triggers for esophageal spasm.