A 48-year-old woman Ponni from Kancheepuram in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was suffering from discomfort while swallowing food for over three decades.
The problem persisted and she checked with several doctors assuming that it was a problem with her throat. Ponni began to lose weight rapidly over the past few years.
The 48-year-old underwent a thorough checkup at Global Hospitals, doctors found that she was suffering from a rare condition called esophageal achalasia, where the food pipe is unable to contract and relax, which was causing trouble while swallowing.
"Diagnosing Ponni's condition was a bit of an ordeal. All these years, she had been prescribed antibiotics for her sore throat. She was starving herself unable to eat, and when she did, the weight of the food she consumed created pressure, and forced itself into her stomach," said Dr R Ravi, head and senior consultant of the department of gastroenterology and therapeutic endoscopy at Global Hospital, Chennai.
After evaluating her conditions, doctors decided to perform Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM).
"POEM is a minimally invasive, scarless technique where precise cutting of muscle is performed through the mouth. It is a virtually non-surgical as no external cut is made on the body and the blood loss is very minimal," said the doctor.
The patient recovered rapidly and was able to talk and walk the following day said Dr Ravi.
"I am now eating without pain or fear of vomiting. For a long time, I couldn't eat more than two idlis, now I am able to eat five to six," said Ponni.