Impact of Peppermint Therapy on Dysphagia and Non-cardiac Chest Pain: A Pilot Study

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Mohamed H. G. Khalaf.

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Khalaf, M.H.G., Chowdhary, S., Elmunzer, B.J. et al. Impact of Peppermint Therapy on Dysphagia and Non-cardiac Chest Pain: A Pilot Study. Dig Dis Sci 64, 2214–2218 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-019-05523-8

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Keywords

  • Esophagus
  • Motility
  • Chest pain
  • Dysphagia