Esophageal Motility Disorder

May 3, 2022

What is Esophageal Motility Disorder?

Esophageal motility disorder, or esophageal dysmotility, is a condition where the muscles in your esophagus fail to contract and the esophagus does not properly deliver food and liquids into your stomach.

Esophageal motility disorder is also an umbrella term for all swallowing disorders which include:

  • dysphagia
  • inefficient esophageal motility disorder
  • nutcracker esophagus
  • diffuse esophageal spasm
  • hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter
  • achalasia

and secondary esophageal motility disorders related to:

  • diabetes
  • GERD
  • mellitus
  • scleroderma

What is the Cause of Esophageal Motility Disorder?

There is not one primary cause for esophageal motility disorder. The causes will be specific to the particular condition you suffer from, but commonly include:

  • Weakened esophageal muscles
  • Neurological disorder
  • Neuromuscular disorder
  • Benign or malignant strictures
  • Spasms of the esophagus

What are the Symptoms of Esophageal Motility Disorder?

Some of the common symptoms and signs of esophageal motility disorders are:

  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Anxiety
  • Regurgitation
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Recurring pneumonia
  • Weight loss
  • Sensation of food getting stuck in your chest or neck
  • Poor sleep

What are the Treatments for Esophageal Motility Disorder?

The common treatments for esophageal motility disorder include:

  • Muscle spasm medications
  • Botulinum toxin or Botox injection in the areas of the spasm
  • Balloon dilation of the lower esophagus to disrupt the abnormal obstructing sphincter
  • Heller myotomy- division of the esophageal sphincter muscle to allow food to pass through
  • Surgical manipulation of the valve at the lower esophageal sphincter to reduce pressure on the muscle

Clinical trials are always being conducted to find new treatments and to improve on treatments that already exist. Please contact a GI Alliance gastroenterologist if you experience any symptoms of esophageal motility disorder.