ZocdocAnswersAfter eating, I have severe pain in my chest and throat. Sometimes it wakes me at night. What is wrong with me?

Question

After eating, I have severe pain in my chest and throat. Sometimes it wakes me at night. What is wrong with me?

It starts on the end of the ribcage and spreads up to the throat. Feels as though something is in my throat and chest. Pain is tight and in surges. Can be severe.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have severe pain in your throat and chest after you eat, that it wakes you up at night sometimes, and it has you worried about what might be wrong. I am happy to give you some of my thoughts as to what might be going on, but ultimately you are going to need to be evaluated by a physician to get a more specific answer. The first thing that comes to mind with the short description you have given me is that you may be suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This is when the stomach contents, including acid from the stomach 'reflux' back up into the esophagus (swallowing tube). The lining of the stomach is made to resist the acidic environment within its lumen (otherwise the stomach would digest itself), however the lining of the esophagus is not made to resist acid. So when enough acid refluxes up into the esophagus, it can cause irritation which can feel like burning, or pain. It can also feel like tightness in your chest, and is at times mistaken for a heart attack. If you do have bad reflux, and it persists for a prolonged period of time, it can have detrimental effects on the lining of your esophagus. I would recommend that you start out by seeing your primary care physician, and they can refer you to a specialist if needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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