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The tube that carries food to your stomach from your throat is called the oesophagus. When the muscular valve (lower oesophagus sphincter) in the oesophagus fails to relax and carry the food to the stomach, the condition is termed as achalasia.
Achalasia has a variety of causes, and can be difficult for your doctor to diagnose the exact cause. Some common causes of achalasia include:
1. Hereditary predispositions
2. Autoimmune disorders (The immune system erroneously destroys healthy cells in the body)
3. Nerve degeneration in the oesophagus
There other medical conditions that often lead to symptoms identical to achalasia, such as oesophageal cancer and Chagas’ disease (an infectious disease caused by a parasite).
Other symptoms of achalasia include:
The most prominent symptom of achalasia is dysphagia, which is characterised by swallowing difficulties or sensations of food stuck in the oesophagus. Dysphagia often triggers coughing and shortness of breath or choking on food.
1. Discomfort or pain in the chest
2. Weight loss
4. Intense discomfort or pain after eating
Some of the treatments include:
Most of the methods to treat achalasia focus on the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The treatments used can either permanently alter the sphincter’s function, or reduce symptoms.
1. Oral medications such as calcium channel blockers or nitrates are prescribed, which can relax the LES to let food pass through with more ease. Your doctor may also treat the LES with Botox.
2. For a more permanent treatment, the sphincter can be dilated or altered. In dilation, a balloon is inserted into the oesophagus and it is inflated. This will stretch out your oesophagus to improve function.
3. To alter the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy is performed. It is a kind of surgery where minimal incisions are made to gain access to the LES, and then it is carefully altered to improve flow of food to the stomach.
Unlike dilation, which can cause complications such as tears in the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy has a greater success rate. However, certain complications may still arise, such as:
1. Acid reflux
2. Respiratory conditions that are caused by food entering your windpipe
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
1. Keep it lukewarm
Winter is the time when your skin and hair need maximum attention. Though the idea of piping hot water is very tempting, stick to a lukewarm water bath every day. Make sure to use a mild non-drying soap or a moisturizing soap.
During winters, the varying temperature outdoors and indoors can have a major effect on the skin. While taking a shower, get into the habit of exfoliating with a loofah so as to remove layers of dead skin and make way for new healthy skin cells.
3. Make moisturizer your daily companion
Needless to say, choose a really good moisturizer to keep the skin moisturized and soft. Pay special attention to the exposed parts (and the most affected areas) like your hands, nails, feet and lips. Keep them well moisturized at all times. Use a lip balm to keep your lips soft and supple.
4. Sunscreen is not just for summers
Wear a sunscreen when you step out in the open. In fact, it should be a part of your daily routine throughout the year and especially during the winters. This is the time when it may seem that you don’t need protection from the sun but you really do!
5. Avoid excess use of deodorants
As you hardly tend to sweat during winter, it’s best to restrict the usage of deodorants which contain high alcohol content. These products tend to strip away the skin’s moisture leaving your skin dry. Go for alcohol-free products instead.
6. Conditioner is a must
Since you don’t sweat much in winter, don’t shampoo too often as it may dry out the scalp and hair. Use a mild shampoo and lukewarm water as very hot water can be harmful to your hair and scalp. And don’t forget the conditioner. If you want to go natural, coconut milk is an excellent conditioner.
7. Oil your hair regularly
However busy your schedule is, don’t skip the oil your hair needs. It will help regulate the blood circulation and keep your scalp moisturized.
8. Style wisely
Say no to hair dryers/ flat irons/ curl irons. These hair styling instruments work on the principle of heat, which when used during winters make matters worse. Instead use the cool setting of the dryer which though may take longer to dry but it would retain the moisture. Choose wooden hair brushes or combs instead of plastic. This is to fight the static hair caused by absence of moisture. If it fits in your schedule and budget, visit a good salon for protein treatment.
9. Cover with care
While woolen caps, scarves and stoles may make a style statement, it can also be the cause of hair breakage especially at the nape of your neck or forehead. Don’t try to be over-protective by wearing them tightly around your head. Leave sufficient space for air circulation in the scalp.