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What are the Benefits of Esophageal Sphincter Exercise?

By Marisa O'Connor
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are many benefits of esophageal sphincter exercise. The primary benefits are that it restores proper function of the sphincters, relieving symptoms of acid reflux, GERD, and diffuse esophageal spasms. A weak esophageal sphincter prevents food from properly entering the stomach and also allows undigested food and stomach acid to spill back into the esophagus.

One of the major benefits of esophageal sphincter exercise is allowing food to more easily pass through the lower esophagus. A weakened lower esophageal sphincter will open and close at inappropriate times. Instead of naturally relaxing and letting food pass into the stomach, the esophageal sphincter may spasm or only partially open. This can be very painful as the food squeezes itself into the stomach or even more painful if it cannot pass through and sits at the sphincter.

Another benefit of exercising the esophageal sphincter is strengthening the lower esophagus to prevent back-flow of stomach contents into the esophagus. When the esophagus is weakened, it cannot function properly. This means that the lower esophageal sphincter cannot close all the way after food enters the stomach, which can cause undigested food and stomach acid to enter the esophagus, further weakening the sphincter. The lining of the stomach has protective tissue, which prevents the acid from harming the organ, but the esophagus isn't as well protected. Stomach acid and food particles can be very painful when not contained properly in the stomach.

Esophageal sphincter exercise can help to prevent flare-ups of symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. These symptoms include sore throat, heartburn, and acid reflux. It is a good idea to combine esophageal exercise with other preventative actions, such as quitting smoking, losing excess weight, and avoiding spicy and greasy foods.

Diffuse esophageal spasms can also be helped by doing esophageal sphincter exercise. As the name suggests, this disorder involves painful spasms of the esophagus associated with swallowing liquids or solids, but the pain may also occur at night. The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to be brought on by irritation of the esophagus from GERD or acid reflux. Esophageal exercise can improve the function of the lower sphincter, preventing the acids of the stomach from entering the esophagus and triggering spasms.

Doing regular esophageal sphincter exercise can help restore the esophagus back to normal strength and health. Talk to a doctor about symptoms of esophageal problems, including GERD. Along with esophageal exercise, taking prescription and over-the-counter medications, losing excess weight, and avoiding certain foods that irritate the esophagus can speed along the process of healing this critical organ.

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Discussion Comments
By Pippinwhite — On Feb 11, 2014

I didn't know such a thing existed! I would love to know how to do these and wonder if a gastroenterologist could tell me. The article does not go into much detail about how these or done.

I'd like to know who can advise me on doing these exercises, how often to do them and the results I might be able to expect from them. The idea of doing exercises and perhaps being able to cut down on my heartburn medication is an attractive one.

I guess, since nearly everything else can be exercised, this sphincter muscle can be also.

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