Achalasia Treatment Options: From Medications to Surgical Procedures

Achalasia is a rare and complex esophageal disorder that affects the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax, making it difficult for food and liquids to pass into the stomach. This condition can lead to a range of uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and regurgitation. Hopkins Medicine describes it as achalasia, a rare swallowing disorder, is a lifelong condition that may have serious symptoms.

Platforms like Medditour connect the patients seeking treatments for achalasia with the global hospitals and facilitators for affordable treatments.

In this article, we will understand the diagnosis and treatments for achalasia, and find out how medical tourism in India, Thailand, and Turkey can help access its treatments.

Diagnosis of Achalasia

The diagnosis of achalasia typically begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination. The most common diagnostic tools include:

  • Barium Swallow: This is a radiographic test where the patient drinks a barium solution, and X-rays are taken to observe the flow of the liquid through the esophagus. In achalasia, a characteristic “bird’s beak” appearance is often seen.

  • Esophageal Manometry: This is considered the gold standard for diagnosing achalasia. A thin tube is inserted through the nose and into the esophagus to measure pressure and muscle contractions.

  • Endoscopy: A flexible tube with a camera on the end is used to examine the esophagus, which can help rule out other conditions and assess the severity of achalasia.

UptoDate states that most achalasia patients are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 60 years.

Treatments for Achalasia

Once diagnosed, there are several treatment options available to manage achalasia.

  • Medications: Medications can help relax the LES temporarily and relieve symptoms, but they are not a long-term solution.

  • Balloon Dilation (Pneumatic Dilatation): In this procedure, a balloon is inserted into the LES and inflated to stretch the narrowed area, allowing easier passage of food. It is a relatively safe and effective treatment option.

  • Heller Myotomy: This is a surgical procedure in which the LES muscles are cut to allow for easier passage of food. It can be done using traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy.

  • Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM): This is a newer, minimally invasive procedure that involves making small incisions and using an endoscope to access and cut the LES muscles. POEM is gaining popularity due to its reduced recovery time.

Medical Tourism for Achalasia Treatments

India, Thailand, and Turkey have emerged as leading destinations for medical tourism, and they offer several advantages for achalasia patients.

Medical treatments in these countries are often more cost-effective compared to Western countries, making them an attractive option for individuals seeking achalasia treatment without breaking the bank.

India, Thailand, and Turkey boast modern, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities that adhere to international standards.

Patients can often schedule their treatments quickly, eliminating the long waiting times common in some Western healthcare systems. Medical tourism companies like Medditour provide opportunities for patients seeking treatments for achalasia to combine their treatment with vacation.

In conclusion, achalasia is a challenging condition that can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Medical tourism in countries like India, Thailand, and Turkey offers a compelling option for individuals seeking affordable and high-quality care for achalasia.

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