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

September 03, 2020

I can’t drink anything or eat anything without it feeling like it’s tearing my heart out
- James ippolito

September 03, 2020

Good afternoon. We're sorry to hear you're not well. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

July 24, 2020

i've been feeling like a food stuck in my throat and my chest hurts when I'm swallowing food and even drinking a liquid. I've experience that for 4 days but after two or three days it's gone and i don't feel anything anymore. could it be just nothing? thank you.
- Estheria

July 24, 2020

Good morning. We can't diagnose patients' specific cases without seeing them, but if you are concerned, you live in the Charlotte region, and would like an appointment with a doctor, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

July 01, 2020

Back on 01/01/19, while cleaning a metal containers, I swallowed and inhaled a stainless steel aerosol metal cleaner. Ever since, I have developed, severe hoarseness, dysphonia, painful cough, pain to my throat with a choking feeling to traques area. I am still undergoing speech therapy therapy , with very mild results, swallowing is getting worse, pain radiates to bilateral ears, I only feel relief when I take motrin 800 milligrams. I already took a trial of prilosec and nothing happened. My therapist think that I severely traumatized my throat. I had a ctscan of my throat, but I haven't got the results. I am very concerned with my health.
- Vilma Gloria Reyes

July 01, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte, NC region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 28, 2020

I experienced the chest pain and it hurt when am swallowing sold food and the chest pain it's worsening when I lay down or taking a nap also spur thing on my mouth
- Eve

June 29, 2020

Good morning. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like a CEENTA doctor to diagnose you, please call 704-295-3000 for an appointment. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 03, 2020

Good morning. Please for some months I've been having bone pains, and neck/ throat pain and occasional breathing difficulty. It doesnt hurt when I swallow, but just 6 days ago, I was diagnosed with heavy growth of Staphylococcus aureus. And just two days back, I observed pain in my right side throat when I take a deep breath in. I've also almost constantly suffered pains around my neck and throat, but no pains or difficulty swallowing. Could this be as a result of the staph bacteria infection? Please help me. I'm 36 years old, female.
- Rachy Serome

June 03, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an in-office appointment, or you live anywhere in the United States and would like a virtual visit appointment, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 06, 2020

Hi, am 25 years and for the past two months I’ve been experiencing GERD and i also have get some tickling in my throat, chest and upper Region of my abdomen and recently i noticed i get these sharp pain in my chest anytime i swallow any food.
- Samantha

May 06, 2020

Hello. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like to schedule an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, or if you live anywhere in the United States and would like to schedule a virtual visit, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

February 06, 2020

I have been experiencing pain in the center of my chest when I swallow, for the last few weeks. It at times goes up to the right side of my jaw.
- Robin E

February 07, 2020

Good morning. We recommend making an appointment with a doctor for an examination and diagnosis. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment at CEENTA, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

February 05, 2020

Most of the time during eating my lunch I have experienced sharp pain near the heart area. It's been over 6 months now, first I thought it be just due to exertion, but it has now become constant and it goes on until I finish my food. Please reply
- Bobby

February 05, 2020

Good morning. Since we cannot diagnose patients' specific conditions without seeing them in person, we recommend making an appointment with a doctor. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

December 02, 2019

41 year old Male. Last few weeks I have experienced pain in my chest right in the middle upper region. When I eat I feel like I am out of breathe for the next hour or more. I have been taking pantoprozole for the last 10 years for acid reflux. But I am really concerned. This pain is almost constant all day.
- Mike

December 03, 2019

Good morning. We strongly recommend making an appointment with a doctor, as we are unable to diagnose patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 12, 2019

I do feel the same. Whenever i swallow food, my right chest hurts like its burning. It's been two days now, should i seek medical assistance?
- Tim From Philippines

November 18, 2019

Good morning. If you have any concerns about your health, we recommend you see a doctor.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 05, 2019

I am 72 yr. Old female. I have GERD but in the past 2 weeks something isn't right. For 3 days it hurt my throat and esophagus to swallow. I had fever. After 4th day I could eat but still hurts to swallow. Sore throat is gone. When whatever it gets to my stomache, that hurts also. I've been belching more and at the odd time my food comes back up. I'm seeing my Dr. Tomorrow.
- Jane

October 28, 2019

i need some help im 12 years old and when ever i swallow anything my chest hurts so bad i don't want to eat or drink anything
- natalia johnson

October 28, 2019

Hello. We're very sorry you're not feeling well. We can't diagnose patients over the Internet, so we recommend you ask your parents or guardians to make an appointment with either your doctor or an ENT specialist. If you would like an appointment at CEENTA, have them call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

October 08, 2019

This does not happen all of the time, but when I am swallowing something, it feels as if I have a large bubble of air preventing the food from going down and get a horrible pain in the center of my chest. This lasts about 10-15 seconds. Eventually the air dissipates and the pain will be gone, but I am left feeling as if I will pass out. I do not pass out however. I relax and breathe. There is no lingering pain in my chest.
- Karen

October 08, 2019

Good morning. If you have concerns about your health, we recommend making an appointment with a doctor, as we cannot diagnose patients without seeing them. If you would like to make an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

August 30, 2019

I do feel this little pain whenever I swallow food by the my chest area.i don't feel pain whenever I drink or lick something,or whenever I cough out.but immediately I swallow food,i feel pains
- Emmanuel

August 30, 2019

Good morning. If you have concerns about your health, we recommend you make an appointment with a doctor. To schedule an appointment with CEENTA, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

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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