Background: Due to its smooth muscle relaxing properties, peppermint oil (PO) may relieve dysphagia and chest pain due to esophageal motility disorders.
Aim: To explore the impact of PO on dysphagia and/or chest pain in patients referred for motility testing.
Methods: Patients initiated on PO for dysphagia and/or chest pain from 2013 to 2016 were identified. We excluded patients with obstructing esophageal lesions, patients lost to follow-up, and those with preexisting cardiac conditions. Concentrated PO was given as commercially available dissolvable peppermint tablets; two tablets before meals were prescribed to patients with dysphagia and on an as-needed basis for patients with chest pain. Patient-reported symptom response was assessed using a modified five-point Likert scale.
Results: Thirty-eight patients were included. Twenty-four patients (63%) reported improvement; 12 were much better and 12 were slightly better. Fourteen experienced no change and none reported feeling worse. Based on pre-treatment HRM, patients with distal esophageal spasm (DES) (n = 10) and esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction (EGJOO) (n = 8) appeared to demonstrate the best subjective improvement (83% and 100%, respectively) (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: PO appears to provide symptomatic relief in some patients with dysphagia and CP. Presence of a well-defined manometric disorder, particularly DES or EGJOO, appeared to predict response.
Keywords: Chest pain; Dysphagia; Esophagus; Motility.