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Internist
Internist, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 4766
Experience:  Int. Med., Gastroenterology. Fellow American College of Physicians. Trained, located in the U.S.
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Difficulty swallowing, severe pain down my chest, unable to

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Difficulty swallowing, severe pain down my chest, unable to take a drink (swallow, that makes it worse). Pain is severe and the meal is usually ruined. Do not recover quickly. Must eat soft food. much trouble with meat. Can happen when drinking but usually when eating food. Occurs about half the time when I eat.
Difficulty swallowing both liquids and solids is characteristic of a problem called achalasia. This is the failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to relax to let food that is swallowed pass into the stomach. Unlike cancer of the esophagus where there is a progressive difficulty in swallowing solids achalasia can occur suddenly and with liquids as well as solid foods. You need to discuss this with your doctor and have him order a barium swallow or esophagram so that the characteristic bird beak appearance of the end of the esophagus can be seen. If this in fact turns out to be the case he will need to have an endoscope in order to make certain there is no malignancy. If there is none then your distal esophagus could be dilated in one of several ways. Achalasia is a benign condition but cancer must be ruled out.

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