This website is for informational use only and does not provide any medical advice.

What is achalasia?

Achalasia is a rare disease of the esophagus muscle. The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscular ring at the point where the esophagus and stomach meet. Achalasia, which means “failure to relax,” occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter fails to open and let food pass into the stomach. In addition, the normal muscle activity of the esophagus is reduced. As a result, patients with achalasia have difficulty swallowing food.


Symptoms of achalasia include:

  • Throwing up food
  • Chest pain, especially after eating
  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing liquids and solids
  • Heartburn
  • Weight loss


This problem is caused by damage to the nerves of the esophagus. Other problems, such as cancer of the esophagus or upper stomach, can cause similar symptoms of achalasia.

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