Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can constipation cause chest pain?"
I am 28 and I get constipated with some frequency. A month ago, though, I started getting pretty severe aches and pains in my chest, and weirdly enough, it seemed to coincide with constipation. Is there an illness that can cause both of these things, or are they somehow linked?
Both constipation and chest pain are complex symptoms that can have multiple causes. The physicians who are best qualified to help you evaluate these symptoms include your internal medicine physician or family medicine physician. Constipation can result in distention of abdominal organs which can, in turn put pressure on the diaphragm. Pressure on the diaphragm can manifest as pain within the abdomen or in the chest. Similarly, as some of the nerves that feed the abdominal organs also feed structures in the chest, a problem in the abdomen can sometimes be interpreted by an individual as a problem in the chest. Another abdominal cause of pain that is often felt in the chest is gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach, or heartburn. These two conditions can often be worsened by constipation. Serious conditions in the abdomen include inflammation of the gall bladder, spleen, or pancreas. These can occasionally manifest as pain in the chest. Finally, their are many causes of chest pain unrelated to constipation or abdominal processes. These include benign causes, such as muscle strain or inflammation of the ribs, and serious causes, such as a heart attach or problems within the lungs such as pneumonia. As always, diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms will require an examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an appointment with your family medicine physician or internal medicine physician is strongly recommended.
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