Alternate Names : Diffuse Esophageal Spasm, DES, Spasm of the Esophagus
Esophageal spasm is an uncoordinated contraction of the muscles of the esophagus. The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
What is going on in the body?
Normally, the esophagus muscles contract and relax in order, from top to bottom. This moves the food from the mouth to the stomach. In esophageal spasm, all the muscles contract at once. This causes pain and fails to move the food along. As a result, the person may have trouble swallowing. Sometimes the condition is triggered by eating hot or cold foods.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Women are more likely than men to have esophageal spasm. The cause of the spasms is not known. Someone who gets spasm after eating hot or cold food may have a hypersensitive esophagus.