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Experiencing Chest Pain After Drinking Cold Water? Here is why

Last summer, I realized that my chest could hurt even without having a heartbreak. It was the time of July, and the scorching sun was enough to drain the last drop of energy from my body. So when I found a vending machine, I didn’t think twice before buying the cold water bottle.

Usually, drinking cold water relieves chest pain and relaxes your body. Right? Wrong! In my case, my chest started to hurt, and for a moment, I couldn’t move.

Within a few minutes, the suffering was gone, but I was too scared and anxious. I started questioning myself,” Is it normal to have chest pain after drinking cold water?”

I contacted my doctor friend, and he explained the situation to me. So here I am, putting everything in an organized way. Give it a read if you have ever experienced pain in your chest after having a cold soda. You might find the information helpful.

chest pain after drinking cold water
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Table of Content

Why Does Your Chest Hurt When You Drink Cold Water?

It turns out I am not the only one whose chest hurts after knocking down an ice-cold soda. Many people experience mild to severe pain in their chest area after having cold water or beverages. But why does this happen? Can too much of cold water cause chest pain?

The doctors and researchers do not have found any accurate answer to this question. Still, there are a few possibilities that the experts cannot ignore. Such as,

A Sudden Drop in Temperature

In a hot climate area, drinking a cold beverage may cause a sudden drop in body temperature. The sudden thermal shock may lead to a sharp pain in the esophagus, chest, or stomach. Mild pain like this may last for a few minutes.

The same thing can happen when you swallow ice cream or cold alcohol after an intense workout. Unfortunately, incidents like these are pretty common in hot summer countries. And you may feel severe chest pain after swimming in cold water on a hot summer day.

Esophagus Contraction

Chest pain can be the human esophagus response to the sudden ingestion of cold water. When you ingest anything above the freezing temperature, a rapid contraction occurs in the esophagus muscles.

An absence of motor activity in the distal esophagus freezes the surrounding muscles. Hence, the walls of the esophagus lead to sudden pain or sensation in the chest. The pinch of pain can last more than 60 seconds.

Available data and other ongoing experiments are still struggling to prove this phenomenon of can too much of cold water cause chest pain. However, researchers suggest there is nothing to be worried about if the condition recovers within minutes.


Chest pain after cold substance ingestion is more common for people who drink frequently. Some doctors suggest the aching has some link to acidity or gastritis. Doctors refer to this condition as esophagitis.

Well, what is esophagitis? Though the term sounds horrible, the condition is nothing but the inflammation inside of the esophagus. Acidic secretion is the reason why inflammation occurs in the first place. Hence, people often feel chronic chest pain after drinking cold water.

In this scenario, the ache in the chest may last a few days.

What Does Cold Sensation in Your Throat Indicate?

History With GERD

Sometimes, the non-drinkers with gastric problems may experience the struggle in the rapid ingestion of cold beverages. It almost like a chest freeze from cold drink.

For a GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) patient, the chances of developing a peptic ulcer or esophageal issue are high. In those cases, esophageal narrowing, spasm, or inflammation led to pain in the chest.

However, talk to your doctor if you are feeling like a roller-coaster ride inside your chest. It may indicate other medical issues.

Esophageal Spasm With/Without Increased Motor Sensitivity

A few years back, a team experimented on the human esophageal response while swallowing cold substances. The researchers used seven subjects and tried to find a link between chest pain and cold substance ingestion.

The team couldn’t come to a definite conclusion due to the diversifying results. However, here is the zest of their observation:

  1. Esophageal spasm with increased motor activity may cause pain in the chest.
  2. In most cases, esophageal spasm with the absence of motor activity is observed. It can be the primary reason why chest pain after drinking cold water occurs. During the situation, the esophagus stays relaxed and flaccid.

Their findings elaborated the inside mechanism of the esophagus after swallowing a cold substance. But how does the pain simulate in the chest?

Unfortunately, the researchers couldn’t provide an accurate answer to this question either. They have predicted three conditions that may generate pain in the chest. Such as,

  1. Stress in the muscles of the esophagus due to the cold temperature
  2. Reduced blood flow in the surrounding areas
  3. Temperature sensitivity around the esophagus wall

What Are the Symptoms of Esophageal Spasms?

It has been widely believed that esophageal spasm is mainly responsible for chest pain while swallowing an icy substance. However, the condition is rare, and the researchers still do not understand why the contraction occurs within the esophagus walls.

Experts assume that nerve malfunction, cold foods, medical history of GERD, ongoing cancer treatments, and even depression or anxiety are the potential causes of esophagus spasms. The condition can be treated with diet, natural remedies, lifestyle changes, and medications. In severe cases, the patient might have to undergo surgery.

As a health-conscious person, you should recognize the symptoms of esophageal spasm before it gets severe. The probable signs of esophageal spasms are:

  • Trouble when swallowing any food
  • Feel intense pain in the chest
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Inflammation around the heart

Primary Treatment For Chest Pain After Drinking Cold Water

The pinch of pain in the chest while drinking water can be terrible sometimes. The suffering may last for a few minutes to several hours. In a few cases, the patient feels dull pain for several days.

Do not panic if you are experiencing an ache for the very first time. Doctors suggest the chest pain after cold water consumption is nothing serious in most patients. As a primary treatment, you can maintain the following things,

  • Avoid drinking or swallowing anything cold if it triggers you.
  • Do not knock out chilled alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Chewing a piece of ginger or clove may reduce the pain if this is an aborted attack.
  • Drink warm water and avoid the intake of junk foods.
  • Drugs like omeprazole or antacid might help if the chest pain is due to acid reflux.

You might feel better after the primary treatment. Still, I strongly recommend visiting a doctor. Ignoring undiagnosed chest pain may increase the health hazard.

N.B: Do not take any medicine without consulting a doctor.

chest pain after drinking cold water
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Is Drinking Cold Water Bad for You?

Even a few years back, I couldn’t imagine my hot summer days without a glass of cold water. For a long time, I assumed cold water might not harm my health. Finally, I consulted with an expert, and he cleared my doubts.

The conflict between the benefits of cold and hot water is not new. But according to the established research studies, consuming hot water is healthier. Experiments proved that drinking cold water has some health risks. Such as,

  • Dull pain in the chest
  • Cold and flu
  • Slow digestion
  • Headache
  • Reduction in the white blood cell, etc.

Hence, it is always advisable to avoid anything close to freezing temperature. Instead, drink warm water. It boosts your metabolism and solves constipation problems. 

Can Drinking Ice-cold Water Cause a Heart Attack?

Many rumors claim sudden death cases after having an ice-cold drink. However, there is no medical evidence of such incidents.

Ice-cold water may trigger you if you have any previous heart conditions or any undiagnosed cardiac rhabdomyoma history. This is because when you swallow cold water, your blood vessels feel a sudden contraction.

The heart needs to pump harder than before to balance your body temperature. Unfortunately, the additional workload can be too much for people with heart disease. As a result, the patient may experience a cardiac arrest.

Does Water Cause a Heart Attack?

Drinking enough water never causes a heart attack, but the opposite. When you drink less water, your blood vessels get thicker than usual. The narrower vessels cause hypertension and make your heart strain. All these incidents will eventually create a blockage in the arteries, and you may experience a minor heart attack.

The doctors always advise you to drink more water than you lose. A hydrated heart has all the energy to pump blood and maintain a balanced body.

When I Drink Water, I Feel Like It Is Going into My Heart. Why Is That?

I have encountered a few people who feel the same. However, the doctors believe this is natural and nothing to be worried about.

When we drink something, it creates pressure on the esophagus walls. In addition, these muscles may press the posterior wall of our left side. So, when the fluid passes through the pipe, it is not uncommon to feel a sensation in the heart.

If you are worried that you have a hole in your food pathway, then release the thought. In those cases, you will feel unbearable pain. However, you can always consult a doctor to come out of your health anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Experiencing chest pain after drinking cold water is more common than you think. However, the condition is not life-threatening. Rather it indicates that you may have an esophageal spasm. And if you worried about chest pain after drinking hot water, I will get back to you with details soon.

In any doubt, contact the emergency Health Line or visit a doctor.

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