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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Someone on RHONJ Is Struggling with an Esophagus Disorder — Just Like Sutton Stracke

Of course, this woman in the Garden State did not have her diagnosis challenged by RHOBH's Annemarie Wiley. 

By Jax Miller
The cast of the Real Housewives of New Jersey in front of a carnival backdrop.

Someone connected to The Real Housewives of New Jersey is recovering from a medical issue with her digestive system, and it sounds a lot like what became a major argument in the most recent season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey Sundays at 8/7c on Bravo and stream next day on Peacock.

In RHONJ Season 14, Episode 5, Margaret Josephs opened up about her mother, Marge Sr., following the elder’s return from a surgical procedure. According to the Housewife, her mother was diagnosed with a rare esophageal disorder that prevented her from adequately digesting her food.

“Marge Sr. has always been the picture of health,” Margaret told producers. “And then she tells me she’s been throwing up for months.”

What was Marge Sr. diagnosed with?

According to Margaret, Marge Sr. was diagnosed with a rare disorder called achalasia.

“We find out she has this thing called achalasia, where the esophagus doesn’t open right, so she had surgery,” said Margaret. “She has to recover at my house for, like, a day or two.”

Margaret Josephs smiling in front of a step and repeat.

Achalasia is described by experts as a disorder in which the esophagus’s contraction muscles fail to allow food to move into the stomach. It affects about 1 in 100,000 adults in the United States and can have serious implications if left untreated.

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Marge Sr. was happy to report she was “not in pain” while making herself comfy on the couch with her daughter, Joe Benigno, and Margaret’s beloved pup, Bella. She vowed never again to take Oxycodone, a prescribed painkiller that made her sick on the way home from having the procedure.

If Marge Sr.’s condition sounds familiar, that’s because it mirrors the disorder Beverly Hills’ Sutton Stracke said she had.

Sutton Stracke at the RHOBH reunion

Sutton’s esophagus disorder was a hot topic in Season 13 and a source of contention between her and Annemarie Wiley. It came after Kyle Richards addressed Sutton moving food around on her plate, which Sutton perceived as insinuations that she didn’t eat.

Instead, Sutton said, she had an esophagus which made her “choke” when swallowing food.

“My esophagus disorder is not something to be made fun of,” Sutton said at the time. “I can’t eat certain foods. I’ve been down for four days, not able to swallow my own saliva. And here’s my friend, making fun of me.”

The subject of Sutton’s “small esophagus” was the source of a heated exchange when former Housewife Annemarie — a nurse anesthetist — challenged the southern socialite’s claims in Episode 8, stating the symptoms didn’t “make sense.” Annemarie claimed a “narrow esophagus” would have been a side effect of something else, not a standalone medical diagnosis.

It was raised throughout the season, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills After Show, and the Season 13 reunion. Each time, Sutton emphasized that Annemarie was not her doctor.

Others in the 90210, including Kyle and Erika Jayne, recalled Sutton addressing the issue in the past, while Crystal Kung Minkoff mentioned a behind-the-scenes moment in Aspen when Sutton “kept choking” on her food.

While Sutton has not delved into the specific disorder she was purportedly diagnosed with, at least there’s someone on the East Coast who might understand.

Catch up on past seasons of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo and Peacock, and watch as Season 14 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey continues Sundays at 8/7c on Bravo and streaming the next day on Peacock.

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