Diffuse Oesophageal Spasm

Diffuse oesophageal spasm (DES) is a relatively rare motor disorder. Associated manometric abnormalities may include hypertensive and repetitive contractions. The lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) may also be hypertensive. Although LES relaxation with deglutition is generally normal, disturbances in LES function are often seen. These abnormalities are, however, not required for the diagnosis (Massey 2001). In a study of eight DES patients with chest pain or dysphagia, peppermint oil had no effect on LES pressures or contractile pressures and durations in the oesophagus, yet completely eliminated simultaneous oesophageal contractions in all patients (P < 0.01). The number of multiphasic, spontaneous and missed contractions also improved. Two of the eight patients had their chest pain resolved after taking the peppermint oil (Pimentel et al 2001).

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