Achalasia

  • Definition

    Achalasia is a disorder of the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach (esophagus), which affects the ability of the esophagus to move food toward the stomach.


    Alternative Names

    Esophageal achalasia


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    A muscular ring at the point where the esophagus and stomach come together (lower esophageal sphincter) normally relaxes during swallowing. In people with achalasia, this muscle ring does not relax as well. The reason for this problem is damage to the nerves of the esophagus.

    Cancer of the esophagus or upper stomach and a parasite infection that causes Chagas disease may have symptoms like those of achalasia.

    Achalasia is a rare disorder. It may occur at any age, but is most common in middle-aged or older adults. This problem may be inherited in some people.