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"Why do I have a sharp pain in my chest every time I swallow?"


I'm a 20 year old male college student with no history of stomach problems. Recently though, every time I swallow food I feel a sharp pain in my chest. It feels like its my esophagus. I did recently have a fever and I took some Tylenol.


This type of pain may indicate that you have inflammation of your esophagus. The most common reason the esophagus gets irritated and inflamed is because of reflux. If you have experienced any stomach pains or heart burn along with your swallowing difficulty, then this could explain the problem.

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Since you have had a fever, we should also consider some infections that can cause irritation of the esophagus. Both a viral infection and fungal infections are possible, but in someone that is otherwise healthy, they do not often produce symptoms. If you do have an infection like this, then I would want to test you for an immune deficiency that made you susceptible to one of these infections. Finally, you could have an esophageal ring or web which is obstructing the movement of food which causes pain when you swallow. Because the causes of this problem are many, and I cannot narrow it down with your description, you would be best served to visit your primary care physician first. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may get a chest x-ray and give you a trial of a stomach acid medication. If your doctor is concerned, you may warrant a referral to a gastroenterologist to perform an endoscopy evaluation of your esophagus. Good luck.

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