Esophageal Spasm

by Sammy Meadows on February 18, 2011

Diagnosing an Esophageal Spasm

Having Esophageal Spasm can be very troublesome and annoying. Apart from the difficulties that you may experience, it also comes with chest pain which can be misled as a symptom of heart attack.

The most common signs and symptoms that may initially present with an Esophageal Spasm are the following:

–       Chest pain radiating to the back, arms, neck and shoulders;

–       Difficulty and pain upon swallowing food and beverages;

–       A feeling of a stuck food particle in the center of your chest.

The moment you feel any of these symptoms, submit yourself to a hospital.

Diagnosis of the Disease

X-Ray. There are a number of confirmatory tests for this disorder and the most common of all is x-ray. Performing an x-ray allows the physician to see the physical appearance of your esophagus and in one type of Esophageal Spasm, the esophagus has a distinct corkscrew appearance.

Barium Swallow. A Barium Swallow or Upper GI Series may also be performed. You may be asked to consume a Barium containing solution so that once you have been x-rayed, the inside contents of your chest, and especially the esophagus will be more defined. This barium solution will be an opaque white solution which will have a chalky and bland taste. You have to consume the entire prescribed solution within the specified time.

After consuming the Barium Solution, you will be subject to X-Ray. The Barium will serve as a contrast agent so that the images that will be produced in the film will show a clearer view of the esophagus and the neighboring structures. After a barium swallow, drink plenty of water to get rid of the Barium solution inside Expect that you will have whitish stools for the next few hours and this is just normal.

Endoscopy. An endoscopy may also be done but this is less prioritized because it is an invasive procedure which entails a tube containing a fiber optic camera to be inserted into your mouth down into your esophagus to view the structure clearly through a monitor. You will be given anesthetic spray on your throat to facilitate the passage of the catheter into your throat up to the esophagus. Normally, an endoscopy should last for about no more than thirty minutes to one hour.

Tissue Biopsy. Along with Endoscopy, the physician may obtain some tissue samples to identify if there has been tissue damage due to acid reflux.

Esophageal Manometry. An esophageal manometry may be performed to measure the regularity of muscle contractions.

Also, there are some tests which may be done to rule out the possibility of more serious diseases that present with similar symptoms. A pH measurement may be performed to measure the acidic environment of the esophagus.

You may be advised to take in medications to relax your muscles, as well as take anti-GERD medications. In severe untreated cases, you may be advised to undergo some surgical procedures to correct this condition.

An Esophageal Spasm is a very concerning condition. Have yourself checked immediately to avoid further damage to your esophagus and also to avoid subsequent complications which may be brought about an unmanaged condition. Good luck on your battle against your esophageal spasm.

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