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Esophageal Spasms

Esophageal Spasms Causes

There is no known exact cause for esophageal spasms but some possibilities include extremely hot or extremely cold foods and gastroesophageal disease (GERD) or heartburn.

Esophageal Spasms Definition

Esophageal spasms are an uncoordinated series of muscle contractions that prevent food from traveling properly from your esophagus to your stomach. These spasms can be very painful. Chest pain is a common symptom of esophageal spasms.

Esophageal Spasms Diagnosis

It may be difficult to diagnose esophageal spasms because of their similarity with other disorders such as GERD. To confirm a diagnosis, several methods including barium swallow or esophagram, esophageal motility test or manometry, and esophageal CT scan are performed.

Esophageal Spasms Symptoms and Signs

The condition may occur in two forms namely diffuse spasms and nutcracker esophagus. Diffuse spasms are simultaneous or irregular contractions of esophageal muscles that slow down the progress of food towards the stomach. Nutcracker esophagus meanwhile is the more painful contraction of the esophageal muscles. Both forms have common signs and symptoms including chest pain, difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation, and heartburn.

Esophageal Spasms Treatment

Among the methods involved in treating esophageal spasms include managing any underlying condition, behavior modification, biofeedback, taking medications such as muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants, and surgery. Rare cases may require either myotomy or esophagectomy.

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