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Esophageal Motility Disorders

Esophageal Motility Disorders, Symptoms and Causes

Esophageal motility disorders are conditions that cause difficulty swallowing, heartburn, chest pain and regurgitation. Examples of motility disorders of the esophagus include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — Heartburn is caused by acid washing up into the esophagus repeatedly so that the esophagus' lining becomes irritated
  • Dysphagia — Ineffective swallowing occurs when a) the tongue and neck muscles are not pushing food in the esophagus properly; b) the lower esophageal sphincter does not relax to let food pass to the stomach, or c) esophagus contracts in an uncoordinated way called an esophageal spasm.
  • Achalasia — There is a complete lack of peristalsis (the wave-like movement of the muscles of the esophagus that push food along to the stomach). In addition, the lower esophageal sphincter does not relax in order to let food into the stomach
  • Functional chest pain — It feels like a heart condition, even though the heart is otherwise healthy.

Esophageal Motility Disorders Symptoms

Esophageal motility disorders symptoms vary by condition.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) — symptoms include heartburn and acid reflux
  • Dysphagia symptoms — include food backing up in the esophagus and leading to vomiting, along with a sensation of something getting stuck or a sensation of pain.
  • Achalasia symptoms — include difficulty swallowing liquids and solids, plus regurgitation, vomiting, weight loss, and atypical chest discomfort.
  • Functional chest pain symptoms — include a non-burning pain without heart disease.

Esophageal Motility Disorders Causes

Esophageal motility disorders causes are unknown, but they may result from other conditions.