ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean when I feel a swelling around the center of my chest when I swallow food?

Question

What does it mean when I feel a swelling around the center of my chest when I swallow food?

I am an 18 year old Caucasian male with no serious medical problems and taking no medications. Sometimes, especially when I eat I experience the sensation that there is swelling, or some sort of air bubble/extra matter around my celiac plexus. It is quite mild, so I have not done anything about it but I'm worried since the sensation is so close to my vital organs.

Answer

Given the fact that you are an otherwise healthy male with no serious medical problems, and that this sensation is mild and does not occur all the time, I think that you probably do not need to worry about it too much. If the symptoms get worse, you can always see your primary care doctor to have it checked out thoroughly. Sometimes when people eat they swallow a lot of air, which can make the stomach distended and uncomfortable. This may be what is happening to you; if you eat more slowly, taking time to chew each bite, this will minimize the amount of air you swallow and may help the symptoms to resolve. Alternatively, you may have heartburn, or acid reflux. In this condition, acid from the stomach washes up into the esophagus. The resulting irritation can be felt like many different sensations, including a dull uncomfortable session in the abdomen just where you are describing. You may want to try Tums or another antacid medication to see if this helps. Of course, if you experience any sudden or severe abdominal or chest pain, severe nausea and vomiting, or bleeding in your bowel movements these may be signs of a more serious problem and you should seek immediate emergency help.

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

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