How Is Achalasia Different From Heartburn?

achalasia treatment in India - cusp surgeons

It often happens that two diseases or disorders resemble in terms of symptoms which become a cause of confusion. In such circumstances, it is better to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. In this blog, we will be explaining achalasia in detail and also make you understand the difference between achalasia and heartburn with an aim to create awareness and debunk the myth that both diseases are the same. 

Well defining achalasia, it is a rare disease that severely affects your oesophagus, more specifically the muscle of the lower oesophageal body and lower oesophageal sphincter, preventing the latter to relax. Also, there is an absence of contractions or peristalsis of the oesophagus. 

Achalasia: understanding in detail

Being rare in nature, but treatable, achalasia occurs when the processes that cause movement of food to your stomach do not work properly. It gradually develops over time, and its symptoms are mostly ignored by the people. Achalasia treatment in India is offered in almost all the top hospitals at the same time, the treatment has become much more convenient due to the advancement of technology and the use of the latest approaches. In such conditions the oesophagus is unable to push the food down into the stomach also, the valve doesn’t open up completely, thus causing the food to get caught at its base. It is important to note that there are no established causes of achalasia yet but according to experts, genetics and immune system problems maybe some of the reasons. 

When to go to a doctor?

Achalasia majorly hinders or cause trouble in the swallowing procedure. Other symptoms include:

  1. Chest pain, especially post-meals
  2. Food coming back up into the throat
  3. Heartburn

Best doctors often advised to avoid taking meals within 4 hours of sleep as this might make the symptoms worse. Foods such as meat and bread may also prove to be problematic for the patient.


A barium swallow test called manometry is done as a screening test for achalasia. This involves a thin tube that is inserted in your throat, it measures the strength of the muscles of your oesophagus while taking sips of water. 

Due to similarities in the symptoms of achalasia and heartburn, in such cases, your doctors may provide treatment curing heartburn and if the same does not work then will test you for achalasia.

Surgical and non-surgical procedures to treat achalasia

Treating achalasia with surgical procedures 

For long-term relief from achalasia surgery is a wise option. There are two surgical procedures to treat the same.

  1. Heller myotomy
  2. Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM)

Treating achalasia with non-surgical procedures 

It is not necessary to opt for the surgical methods, achalasia can also be treated with non-surgical procedures too. Some options are:

  1. Injections of muscle-relaxing medicine
  2. Stretching the oesophagus (pneumatic dilation)
  3. Medications

CUSP Surgeons is credited with offering the best achalasia treatment in Delhi as it has an expert team of specialised doctors that aims at your care, convenience and cure. 

Achalasia and heartburn: Know the difference

In both achalasia and heartburn, a patient experience swallowing trouble and the feeling of food backing up into the throat. But it is to be noted that both are not the same. Some of the differences are listed below:

  1. Heartburn is a condition in which the stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe causing burning pain. On the other hand, achalasia is a rare disorder which prevents the oesophagus muscles to relax and push the food down into the stomach.
  2. Chest pain, burning in the throat and difficulty in swallowing are the signs of heartburn. However, heartburn itself is one of the symptoms of achalasia.

It is imperative to get immediate treatment if diagnosed with achalasia, in fact, top achalasia doctors in India suggest that early treatment helps to yield better results.

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