Suffering from chest pain during or after eating is not uncommon, unfortunately. There are many potential causes of chest pain in association with eating and these will be discussed later in this article. For most, the sensation of chest pain is short-term and will resolve itself without the need for medical intervention. If the pain persists, however, it may be indicative of an underlying cause and medical attention should be sought. If any of the following symptoms are experienced, contact emergency services: shortness of breath, pain that intensifies and does not respond to antacids, dizziness or fainting, severe nausea, vomiting (especially projectile vomiting or bloody vomiting), or intense abdominal pain.
Common Causes of Chest Pain After Eating
The most common and benign causes of chest pain after eating include swallowing too large a bite of food or consuming something too hot or cold. More serious common causes are mentioned below.
A food allergy may result in chest pain after consumption of the allergen. The cause of the pain is generally due to the tightening of the throat and the lungs caused by the allergic reaction. The immune response to an allergic reaction is for cells to produce histamines, which cause inflammation. Chest pain is the result of the increased pressure in the lungs and throat from the swelling.
It is possible to lose track of how much we have eaten or to simply eat too quickly to give our digestive tract the necessary time to indicate fullness. This can result in overeating. When a person overeats, there is increased pressure in the stomach and digestive tract, which can result in chest pain.
A gallbladder attack occurs when a gallstone, created in the gallbladder, gets lodged in one of the bile ducts in the intestines, causing a decrease in the flow of bile. This can occur due to the consumption of fatty foods and can result in tightness and pain in the chest, especially after eating.
GERD is the medical term for chronic acid reflux. Acid reflux from the stomach into the throat is one of the most common causes of chest pain that occurs after eating. This is colloquially referred to as heartburn. If you suffer from heartburn after eating, at least twice a week for several weeks, you may have GERD. Chest pain is the main symptom of GERD. GERD can cause severe complications if left untreated, and medical advice should be sought.
Gas pain in the chest occurs when there is a buildup of gas in the digestive tract, resulting in pain in the chest. The most common cause of this is food sensitivities or intolerances. Be aware of your food sensitivities and if these are related to experiencing gas pain in the chest. This can also occur if a patient is suffering from food poisoning.
Achalasia is a rare medical condition that occurs when the stomach has difficulty passing liquid or food. The condition is a result of damage to the nerves in the esophagus, making the muscles in the tube looser. This causes difficulty in swallowing and passing food to the stomach and can result in pain in the chest where the food is attempting to pass. There is currently no cure for this disorder, but it can be managed with proper treatment.
The diaphragm muscle is what separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The esophagus passes through a hole in the diaphragm to reach the stomach through the chest cavity. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach protrudes through the hole in the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This can result in pain in the chest cavity, which often increases after eating.
Other Causes of Chest Pain After Eating
Esophageal ulcers can form as a result of GERD or certain kinds of infections. The ulcers cause erosions in the lining of the esophagus. When food passes through the esophagus, it rubs against the lining of the esophagus, causing pain in the area. Esophageal ulcers can also be caused by esophageal cancer.
Esophageal tears can occur after extreme vomiting, causing constant chest pain. Eating or drinking will make the pain much worse. This is considered a medical emergency.
Gastritis and Peptic Ulcers
Gastritis is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the stomach. A peptic ulcer is a corrosion in the lining of the stomach. As both of these conditions affect the digestive tract, they can result in chest pain after eating. At times, the source of the pain is the abdomen, but it can be confused with chest pain due to the sensation or the intensity of it.
Any kind of blockage or obstruction in the stomach or intestine will cause food to accumulate in the esophagus, which can result in chest pain as well as nausea and vomiting.
Pancreatitis is defined by inflammation of the pancreas. It is characterized by pain after eating. The pain is usually in the upper abdomen but can radiate to the chest and lower back as well.
Chest pain is commonly experienced by patients suffering from eating disorders. In this case, the pain can indicate a coronary issue which will need immediate medical attention.
Remedies for Chest Pain After Eating
Despite the many potential causes of chest pain after eating, there are natural home remedies that can relieve this medical irritation. Avoiding foods that you are sensitive or intolerant to is step number one. You should also avoid foods that are overly acidic or spicy, which includes oily and fatty foods. Maintain a consistent intake of food with each meal to avoid overeating or skipping meals. Make sure to stay upright after eating to help the natural flow of food through your digestive tract.
Other potential remedies include
- Consuming a cold glass of milk with a tablespoon of raw honey mixed in. These substances can work together to soothe the lining of the digestive tract.
- Consuming carom seeds can help to alleviate the symptom if it is caused by excess gas or bloating.
- Eating yogurt as a regular part of your diet.
- Avoiding taking medications on an empty stomach, unless specifically prescribed that way.
- Practicing some simple yoga postures designed to promote good digestion.
Chest pain after eating is an unfortunate medical condition that is highly common. The pain will usually alleviate itself within a short period of time after eating. If it persists or is experienced on a regular basis, consult your doctor, as there may be an underlying medical condition at play.
Some of the most common causes of chest pain after eating are related to diet or acid reflux. With small dietary adjustments, this type of symptom can be alleviated quite simply. If the pain is chronic, it may be indicative of a larger medical issue, ranging from hiatal hernia to esophageal ulcers. Keep an eye on your symptoms and their potential causes and keep in mind the natural remedies that can reduce pain in the chest after eating.