The exact treatment your physician recommends depends on the severity of your symptoms. Treatments include:
- Botox® injection: Botox®, a commercial name for botulinum toxin, can be injected into the muscles that control your esophageal sphincter to relax the opening. The results may last anywhere from three months to a year.
- Medication: Two commonly used medications to treat achalasia are calcium channel blockers and long-acting nitrates. These medicines are used if surgery is not a choice and symptoms continue after Botox® injections.
- Pneumatic (balloon) dilation: Using an endoscope, a special balloon is passed through the mouth and into the esophagus, where it is inflated to stretch the restrictive muscles.
- Heller myotomy: During this surgical procedure, the muscles of the esophageal sphincter are cut.
- Per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM): Using an endoscope inserted in the mouth and through the esophagus, surgeons can access and cut abnormal muscle fibers that prevent the valve at the base of the esophagus from opening.
- Fundoplication: Used sometimes in conjunction with POEM, a part of the upper stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus, preventing stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus after the muscles have been cut.