Have you ever experienced piercing chest pain after eating? You might think you are a having a heart attack but wait, do not panic as this could be happening for a lot of other reasons.
Under no circumstances should you take any medicines by yourself unless already prescribed by a doctor. This post will take you to explore the multiple reasons for chest discomfort after eating and some corrective actions you could take to overcome this.
Chest pain after eating Causes:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):
Also known as the chronic acid reflux, the gastroesophageal reflux disease is the acid reflux from the stomach into the throat. The condition is also known as heartburn. If you experience post-meal heartburn more than twice in one week, then you should not take it lightly.
Visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and prescription. It has been observed that chest pain after eating leading to heartburn sets in upon consumption of too many spicy foods or too many greasy foods.
Abdominal wall hernias like the Hiatal Hernia is also one of the many reasons that can lead to chest discomfort after eating. Hiatal hernia is the condition whereby the stomach manages to push through the diaphragm opening where the esophagus goes from the chest to the abdomen.
If you ever find a lump in your stomach, do not take it lightly and rush to a specialist (gastroenterologist) right away for a proper diagnosis. Do not try to do away the lump as it will reoccur and be more painful and hard to handle than before.
One can develop one or more complications in one’s gallbladder, and that’s when they are said to have gallbladder disease. Formation and gallstones or inflammation are most commonly known diseases of the gallbladder that can cause chest pain after eating. The gallbladder helps in storing extra bile to break down large amounts of fat for absorption into the body.
However, when the gallbladder has developed stones in it, it will not be able to store the extra bile and hence will not be able to break down fat for digestion and absorption. When this happens, you will feel nausea, vomiting and chest discomfort after eating fatty foods.
To understand the pain caused by Ulcers you should first know what exactly an ulcer is and how they can be treated. The medical definition of an ulcer or peptic ulcer is an open wound in the lining of the digestive tract typically caused by a bacterial infection.
Ulcers, when present in your stomach, small intestine or esophagus can cause chest pain after eating or even during. Food that you eat aggravates and irritate the sores thereby increasing pain. Different types of ulcers are treated differently owing to their nature and stage that they are at.
The gas problem:
Pain associated with gas is also why your chest hurts after eating. Carbohydrates, when undigested they can enter your colon and create gases in the digestive system. It is not a serious problem but can be very annoying and embarrassing.
Achalasia is defined as “failure to relax”. It is a disorder whereby the esophagus or the swallowing tube cannot adequately push food and liquid into the stomach hence one can experience chest pain after eating. This, in fact, happens because the ring of lower muscle circling the lower portion of the esophagus does not relax enough to let the swallowing take place.
The degeneration of the nerve cells that control the swallowing muscles in the esophagus is what brings about achalasia. The reason for these nerve cells degeneration and its cure is yet unknown, but there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help one get through this condition.
Allergens present in the food can cause food allergies. The allergic reaction tightens the throat and lungs thereby causing chest pain after eating. This chest pain happens because of the heightened pressure in the throat and lungs from the swelling.
The cells produce histamines in the body as an immune response to the allergic reaction which in turn leads to inflammation. It is good to know what foods your body is allergic to avoid these painful reactions.
Overeating can cause chest discomfort after eating:
Indulging in overeating can also cause chest pain after eating. Eating too quickly can also mislead your digestive tract to gauge fullness thus you overeat. The increased pressure in the stomach and digestive tract due to overeating is why your chest hurts after eating. It is therefore said to eat small portions over stretched of time, when hungry and not fill your stomach at once.
Intense pain in the chest, particularly between the chest bone and the navel is a sign of indigestion. It is accompanied by a burning sensation in the chest which is mostly confused with heartburn, but it is not.
Heartburn is a different medical condition. It is, however, possible for someone to experience both these conditions which can be extremely uncomfortable. Chest discomfort after eating can also include a terrible feeling of an upset stomach, gas and bloating.
Inflammation of the pancreas is referred to as pancreatitis and is described by chest tightness after eating. Although the pain is majorly in the upper abdomen, it travels to the chest and lower back as well.
If any of the above-discussed reasons does not cause your chest pain, then you might want to visit a heart specialist as this could be due to some cardiac issues. It has been observed that people generally associate chest pains with a heart attack, but it is not the same every time, therefore, it is good to know about the other possible reasons for chest pain after eating.
Natural Remedies for Chest pain after eating:
Having talked about the multiple reasons for chest pain after eating let us now look at some remedies that could be useful for you to cure that pain. These are simple, easy-to-follow homemade remedies and a few habitual/lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference.
Yogurt has been the most popular chest pain reliever since time unknown. It is known to aid in digestion and cure any troubles that your stomach might be having. However, yoghurt is also known to be acidic in nature. Therefore, one has to be very careful when consuming it in case of acid reflux.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water can address complains of heartburn and acid reflux. Apple cider vinegar accentuates the amount of acid in the stomach and can prove very useful in times of acid reflux. Also, its acidic nature aids in the breakdown of food for digestion.
A warm or hot drink is always recommended by experts and old people in our homes to relieve the digestive system and relieve any issues of gas which may be causing chest discomfort after eating.
Milk has a balancing effect, and that mixed with some honey is having a soothing impact on your food pipe. It also works to manage the contents of the stomach thereby relieving the chest pain after eating.
It is always advised to not lie down right after eating. Because when you do so, you are interrupting the digestion process by not helping the food pass through the esophagus into the rightful digestive tract which can cause chest pain, heartburn, nausea etc. Always give at least a 3 hours gap between your sleeping time and eating time.
Minimum greasy foods:
Whether or not you have a gastric issue, ulcers or any other stomach related issue you should minimize the amount of greasy foods in your diet. Greasy food aggravates gallbladder diseases and other stomach related problems.
Minimum spicy foods:
Spicy foods are tasty and addictive, but these can cause damage to our digestive tract and bring discomfort like chest pain after eating, heartburn and ulcers.
Take note of which foods produce an allergic reaction in your body and stay away from those foods.
Take your pains seriously:
When you experience chest pains and gas conditions too often (say more than 2 times in a week), then you should see a doctor right away.
Too much alcohol:
Excessive drinking is known to cause liver damage and thus ulcers, therefore, it is also recommended to refrain from drinking if you have complained of chest pains.
Watch out for medicines: Some medicines can cause ruptures to the stomach lining thereby causing reactions and chest pain after eating. Always consult a doctor/specialist before consuming any medicine even if it as an over-the-counter prescribed drug.
Many serious cases have been reported by medical researchers whereby people have brought serious damage to their swallowing tubes, their stomach linings, their liver and kidney only by consuming non-prescribed medicines (in some cases prescribed ones too) over a prolonged period.