Q:

What available treatment options are there for esophageal spasm?

A:

Quick Answer

As of 2015, treatment options for esophageal spasms include managing underlying conditions, such as depression and heartburn, that contribute to the spasms, using medication to relax muscles, and surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. For occasional spasms, doctors usually recommend avoiding food and other triggers that lead to the spasms.

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Full Answer

Doctors typically treat esophageal spasms if they make it difficult for a patient to eat or drink, Mayo Clinic reports. Managing underlying conditions is usually part of the treatment plan. Conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), depression, anxiety and heartburn can create the spasms. Many times patients with esophageal spasms require no additional treatment.

A physician may also prescribe a medication that relaxes the muscles related to swallowing, Mayo Clinic states. This treatment can cut down on the severity of the spasms. Surgery may be indicated to correct GERD that doesn't respond to treatment or to cut the muscle at the lower end of the esophagus to weaken the spasms.

Patients with occasional esophageal spasms are encouraged to identify triggers, such as food that is too hot or too cold or red wine, and avoid them, Mayo Clinic says. Learning how to better manage stress is a way to cope with depression and anxiety that may contribute to the condition.

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