Eating has become a very unpleasant experience for you. Every time you swallow your food, you get a sharp pain in your chest. What is causing this pain, and is there any way to treat it?

What is esophagitis?

If you have pain in your chest whenever you swallow, you may have a condition called esophagitis. This is an inflammation of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Esophagitis has a number of possible causes, including acid reflux, infections, allergies, and reactions to some medicines. Not only would you have swallowing pain, but you might also have difficulty swallowing, food might get stuck in your esophagus, or you might get heartburn. Infants with esophagitis might experience feeding difficulties, too.

If you experience symptoms for more than a few days and don’t get better with antacids, they make eating difficult, or you also have flu symptoms, a doctor’s visit is recommended.

However, if the pain lasts more than a few minutes, you think food is stuck, you have a history of heart disease, you have shortness of breath, or you experience severe vomiting, you need emergency care as they are signs of a more serious condition.

How is esophagitis treated?

Your doctor can recommend a number of treatments based on the exact cause of your esophagitis. If acid reflux is the cause, over-the-counter of prescription antacids could help. If an infection is the cause, medicine may help. If allergies are the cause, avoiding the allergen and taking medicine could help. If it’s caused by medication, an alternate drug might be available.

Esophageal cancer

More seriously, chest pain when swallowing might be a sign of esophageal cancer. If a tumor is large enough, it can restrict food passing by it. People with esophageal cancer may also feel like food is stuck in their throat, or they may even start choking on it.

ENT doctor Brett Heavner, MD

The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing. People with this cancer might start eating smaller portions of food or switch to an all-liquid diet because of swallowing problems. Other symptoms include weight loss, hoarseness, a chronic cough, vomiting, and esophageal bleeding.

However, these symptoms don’t automatically mean someone has cancer. It’s important to get a diagnosis from a doctor to determine what, if anything, you might have.

“Most factors causing difficulty swallowing are benign," CEENTA ENT doctor Brett Heavner, MD, said. “However, if it persists for more than 2-3 weeks or you get to the point of not being able to eat at all, it needs to be evaluated.”

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Heavner practices in our Steele Creek office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

Do you know what might cause other swallowing difficulties? Learn more here.

Why is just one side of your throat sore? Learn more here.

How can your diet affect your vocal health? Learn more here.

 


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Comments

July 23, 2019

i felt pain first in my chest, it gave me a hard time the breathe, after i ate some foods and drink water it actually got a little better then i take nap for few hours then when i woke up it got worse, whenever i swallow even just my saliva its painful, when i tried burping its also painful, my neck and shoulder felt a little heavy
- russel

July 23, 2019

Good morning. If you are concerned about your health, we suggest making an appointment with a doctor. You can make an appointment at CEENTA by calling 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

July 11, 2019

Benn having pains in my chest eveytime I swallow and like 2 seconds after I swallow and read all about this but don't know if it is x
- Charley

July 11, 2019

Good morning. We recommend you make an appointment with a doctor for an examination. Please feel free to call 704-295-3000 if you'd like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

July 10, 2019

Hurts to swallow my chest feels like I have been stood on and pains but also goes down to my left kidney
- Eleanor

July 11, 2019

Hello. We recommend you make an appointment with your doctor, as we cannot diagnose patients without seeing them in person. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

July 10, 2019

I might sound crazy but going on 6 years i have been having chest pain as well its like everything i eat and drink gives me chest pain it in the middle and on my right side i have been to the er and had ekg and blood work along with a xray and ct scan but nothing im not sure what it is but when i was little i did have acid reflux diease so i dont know if i have gerd now or what or maybe stress and anxiety that i dont know about...
- Daniel Jorgensen

July 11, 2019

Good morning. We're sorry you aren't feeling well. If you would like a CEENTA doctor to examine you, please call 704-295-3000 for an appointment. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 28, 2019

Good evening. Whenever i swallow some food i get a pain in the heart area this has lasted a couple of days now. I want to get worried but im not sure. Also my nose is kinda bleeding but not a lot. My heart hurts whenever i do someting like walk. Maybe i have problem with my heart but i did see appointment to check my heart it was fine they said it happens bec ur a teen not sure if thats the case now huh... i feel like i have problems with my health but the doctors say its nothing but i really dont feel great anymore. The blood test doesnt show anything bad but this is not normal. Oh and i do have a problem with swallowing maybe im not chewing but its like its stuck and it hurts but thats prob just genes.
- Veronica

June 28, 2019

Good afternoon. We strongly recommend you make an appointment with another doctor if you have concerns about your health. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like to make an appointment with one of our doctors, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 21, 2019

My chest pain is only present when swallowing and has been present since yesterday. It feels like the food/pain is going down on the right side of my chest near my midclavicular line. Is this normal?
- Corey

June 24, 2019

Good morning. We recommend you make an appointment with your doctor, as we cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them in person. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 30, 2019

I felt severe chest pain after eating a jackfruit. (Whole) is it related? They say fruits are good. Should i shift to smaller fruits like pineapple and water melon?
- Chacko Ninan

May 30, 2019

Good morning. Because your personal medical history may be a factor and we can't diagnose patients without seeing them, we recommend you make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 26, 2019

It's been one day now and i get so uncomfortable when swallowing food. It's these chest pains but note I do not cough or feel any pain when I touch my chest, but when am eating, I have to pour myself a liquid to eat my food with or rather I feel like it has stuck onto my chest. What would you recommend?
- Paul

May 28, 2019

Good morning. Because we cannot diagnose a patient without seeing them in person, we recommend you make an appointment with your doctor. To make an appointment at CEENTA, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 06, 2019

I have recently starting having tightness in my chest; an odd sensation when swallowing food to include tightness/heaviness throughout my chest area with an annoying cough. I have noticed thorugh the last year or so that sometimes i would have an odd sensation in my throat area when eating or swallowing. Now it seems to have progressed over the last few days. I did have a bout of bronchitis last month that was treated with anitibiotics/steroids and it seemed to get better.
- Cindy

May 06, 2019

Good morning. If you have medical concerns, we recommend you make an appointment with your doctor. Appointments with CEENTA physicians can be made by calling 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 16, 2019

It gets hung in my chest and it hurts so bad feels like I can't breathe I know it's not heartburn but touching my chest hurts so bad
- Surrilda

April 16, 2019

Good afternoon. We recommend you make an appointment with a doctor for an examination. You can make an appointment at CEENTA by calling 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 05, 2019

Sometimes when I eat like boiled eggs I’ll feel like it’s stuck in my throat. I can still breathe but can’t swallow and I get a lot of saliva. Also sometimes when I eat I get the sharp pain in my chest. Sharp pain happens a lot. When ever I’m full I have pain in my neck .
- April

April 05, 2019

Hello. If you have any concerns about your health, we recommend visiting a doctor. If you are in the Charlotte, NC region, you can make an appointment with one of our doctors by calling 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

March 31, 2019

I just experienced pain in my left chest through the throat I ate steak sweet potato mushrooms and brustle sprouts I took 2 tumbs it felt like a heart attack
- Lindsey Hebert

April 01, 2019

Good morning. If you have any concerns about your health, we recommend you make an appointment with your doctor. If you would like to see a CEENTA physician, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

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