Digestive Causes of Chest Pain: What You Need to Know

Digestive Causes of Chest Pain: What You Need to Know

When you experience chest pain, the first thing that comes to mind is a problem with your heart, like a heart attack. But did you know that some gastrointestinal (GI) conditions can cause significant chest pain?     

At Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, our board-certified gastroenterologist John M. Rivas, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating different digestive conditions, including those responsible for chest pain. If you’re experiencing non-cardiac chest pain, don’t wait to call our office and schedule an exam.   

In the meantime, take a moment to learn more about digestive causes of chest pain and the treatments available to help end your discomfort.     

What gastrointestinal issues trigger chest pain?

Chest pain has many causes, and some of them can begin in your digestive tract — especially your upper GI tract, which houses the tube that carries your food from your mouth to your stomach. Here’s a look at some of the most common digestive causes of chest pain:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the single most common cause of non-heart-related chest pain, with almost two-thirds of these cases being attributed to the digestive disease.  

GERD results when your stomach acid moves backward, traveling from the stomach into your esophagus, which connects your stomach and mouth. About one-fifth of American adults have GERD, which can cause many symptoms, including:

If not treated, this condition can cause ulcers, bleeding, and scarring. 

Gallbladder disease (cholecystitis)

Gallbladder disease, or cholecystitis, typically results when gallstones block the tube that leads from your gallbladder to the rest of your digestive tract. When this happens, you can have a buildup of bile in your gallbladder. 

This buildup causes inflammation and pain, both localized in your upper right abdomen as well as radiating to other areas of your body, including your back, shoulder, and chest that often gets worse after eating a heavy meal, especially one with greasy or fatty foods. 

Other digestive causes of chest pain

Though less common, some conditions that affect your esophagus can also cause chest pain as they can prevent food from moving normally, cause spasms or contractions, and even make your body more sensitive to normal stomach acid. These conditions include:

Swallowing very hot liquids or caustic materials, like acid, can also cause issues in your esophagus and lead to chest pain.  

What should I do if I have non-cardiac chest pain?

If you’re experiencing chest pain and don’t know the cause, it’s important to see a medical provider right away. If you’re having chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, pain in your arm, cold sweats, or nausea, call 911.

For non-cardiac chest pain, scheduling a consultation with Dr. Rivas helps you discover the cause of your discomfort and gets you on track for finding an effective treatment. Dr. Rivas uses your medical and family histories, an evaluation of your symptoms, a physical exam, and different tests and imaging studies.

Based on his findings, Dr. Rivas creates a customized treatment plan that may include lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery when required. Rest assured that Dr. Rivas always begins with the least invasive, most conservative treatment possible. 

Worried that your chest pain may be related to a digestive condition? Get help by contacting the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida. You can call our friendly staff at 954-228-5882 to schedule an appointment, or book a consultation online now. 

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