(See also Overview of the Esophagus.)
How the Esophagus Works
A problem with any of these functions can cause difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation (the spitting up of food from the esophagus or stomach without nausea or forceful contractions of abdominal muscles), vomiting, or aspiration of food (sucking food into the airways when inhaling).
Disorders of the throat also can cause problems with the movement of food (see Propulsion Disorders of the Throat).
The main causes of abnormal propulsion of food are movement (motility) disorders of the esophagus. The most common disorders include
Doctors use various methods to diagnose movement disorders of the esophagus. Methods include endoscopy with biopsies, barium swallow x-rays, manometry, and acid reflux tests, and impedance planimetry.
Treatment of abnormal propulsion of food depends on the cause.