Acid reflux is a very common cause of chest pain not related to the heart. Heart pain and heartburn from acid reflux feel similar partly because the heart and esophagus are located close to each other and share a nerve network. Other gastrointestinal problems can also cause chest pain.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease. Also known as acid reflux, GERD occurs when stomach contents move back into the throat. This may cause a sour taste in the mouth and a burning sensation in the chest or throat, known as heartburn. Factors that may trigger acid reflux include obesity, smoking, pregnancy, and spicy or fatty foods.
Esophageal contraction disorders. Uncoordinated muscle contractions (spasms), high-pressure contractions (nutcracker esophagus) are other problems in the esophagus that can cause chest pain.
Esophageal hypersensitivity. This occurs when the esophagus becomes very painful at the smallest change in pressure or exposure to acid. The cause of this sensitivity is unknown.
Esophageal rupture. A sudden, severe chest pain following vomiting or a procedure involving the esophagus may be the sign of a rupture in the esophagus.
Peptic ulcers. A vague recurring discomfort may be the result of these painful sores in the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine. More common in people who smoke or drink a lot of alcohol, the pain often gets better when you eat or take antacids.
Hiatal hernia. This common problem occurs when the top of the stomach pushes into the lower chest after eating. The pain tends to get worse when you lie down.
Pancreatitis. You may have pancreatitis if you have pain in the lower chest that is often worse when you lie flat and better when you lean forward.
Gallbladder problems. After eating a fatty meal, do you have a sensation of fullness or pain in your right lower chest area or the right upper side of your abdomen? If so, your chest pain may due to a gallbladder problem.
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Archived: March 20, 2014
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