Chest Pains when Hungry? What you Should Know!

Have you ever skipped breakfast, only to end up with a hungry, bloated stomach an hour later? I’m sure you have – We all have.

But to have an aching chest along with hunger? Now, this must be confusing!

You must be pondering over why chest pains when hungry?

Hunger and an empty stomach can cause gas formation and acid reflux. Both these conditions can cause chest pains. If chest pain is accompanied with other symptoms like abdomen pain, nausea and many more, it can be an indication of stomach ulcer. Whatever the reason maybe, there’s nothing to worry about because with proper treatment and home remedies, all can be cured.

If that’s clear, let’s not waste another minute and dive into the details! 

Reasons for Chest Pains When Hungry

In this modern, busy world, who hasn’t faced a day when it’s impossible to spare time for food? 

We, workaholic energetic creatures, stay busy all day without even realizing the little growls of help from our poor, empty stomach. Not until the stomach decides to go on strike, throwing chest pains, heartburn, foul smelling burps, and what not! 

chest-pains-when-hungry

So let’s look at some ways the stomach might start a chest pain.

Gas

Gas formation is a common problem for people who stay on an empty stomach for hours.

When our stomach is empty, it looks for food. When it doesn’t get any, the stomach starts to produce gas. This gas may get trapped in our digestive system, causing chest pains. Chest pains due to gas may also be because of constipation.

Symptoms of gas formation include :

  • Chest Pain
  • Bloating
  • Upper abdomen pain
  • Passing excessive gas

Chest pains due to gas don’t usually require a diagnosis if they’re cured by eating on time. If the pains start occurring even when food is taken properly and even after acidity medications are taken, a doctor’s consultation should be sought. 

Getting gassy due to skipping meals is a very common condition. But, other factors can also be responsible for chest pains when hungry. So, let’s look at more reasons.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, as the name suggests, is a condition when the acids in the stomach rises above the stomach and flows into the food pipe. This causes a burning or paining sensation around the chest, also known as heartburn. 

acid-reflux

Symptoms include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Heartburn
  • Foul, sour taste in the mouth
  • Feeling a lump in the throat
  • Burping
  • Bloating
  • Sore throat

Frequent and chronic acid reflux can be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This needs medical attention and medicines to treat.

Acid reflux can occur both due to an empty stomach or too full stomach. This condition is mostly common at night, or when lying down after a huge meal. 

Peptic Ulcer

This is a less common and more serious cause. 

Peptic ulcers are open sores called ulcers that form in the stomach wall. This is mostly caused due to the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. 

Here’s how ulcers develop: The stomach has a protective mucus layer surrounding its walls. This layer prevents the strong digestive acids in the stomach from digesting its wall. 

peptic-ulcer

H. pylori sticks to the mucus layer and breaks it down, making the stomach wall vulnerable. Thus, when the stomach secretes the digestive juices, they digest the stomach wall itself, leading to ulcers!

Good to note that H.pylori can be present in many people, but causes ulcers in only 15% of them.

Symptoms of peptic ulcer include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe abdomen pain

These symptoms resemble that of acid reflux. But while acid reflux will reduce with acidity medicines, ulcers will keep causing recurring pain. They will also cause symptoms more frequently and severely than acid reflux. 

So, it’s best to see a doctor if these symptoms persist. The doctor may carry out an endoscopy to diagnose the condition.

Hiatal Hernia

This is a common condition in older people. 

What exactly happens: Well there is a small opening in our diaphragm (muscle separating lungs from stomach) called the hiatus. Sometimes, a part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus, and settles next to the lungs. This is called a hiatal hernia.

Large hiatal hernias can cause:

  • Chest and abdomen pain
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Breathing problems
  • Acid Reflux

Hiatal Hernias can cause chest pains when hungry, suggested a doctor patients forum. Hiatal Hernias might also cause back pains.

hiatal-hernia

Most people never even know they have hiatal hernias. The symptoms can easily be cured by acidity medicines. If they’re still not cured, the hernia can be identified through an endoscopy.

Well then, these are the main reasons that may be starting your chest pains. Now, let’s look at some treatments for your condition.

Treatment

Both medical treatments and home remedies are available for chest pain associated with hunger. Take a look at them to get rid of this agony. 

Medical Treatment

For gas and acid reflux, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like Antacid or Esomeprazole can be taken. A doctor may suggest acidity medicines that need to be taken regularly.

In case of ulcers, these medicines can give a temporary relief but the pain will return. Thus, it’s best to consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis before taking any medicines.

Home Remedies

Home remedies are very effective for both acid reflux and gas. These can help give long term relief and even cure the problem forever.

Lifestyle

The most important factor to permanently end gas and acid reflux pain, is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’ve provided some healthy lifestyle tips:

Eat on Time 

Skipping meals and spending hours without eating is the main cause of gas formation. So, make a routine and prioritize food over anything else. 

Since it’s the hunger that causes your chest pains, it’s wisest to not stay hungry.Remember to have breakfasts regularly and on time. 

Health is the real wealth. Walking around with a bloated stomach and chest pain, will not only harm your health but also your work output, so remember to eat first.

Don’t Eat Excess 

Eating excess is a major cause of acid reflux. It’s best to not eat up to the neck, but keep at least 1/4th of your stomach empty. 

Don’t eat food that causes gas or bloating

Spicy food, or too oily food can cause youe stomach to bloat. 

Also there are foods that are notorious gas producers, like apples, broccoli, beans etc. So, check out if these foods are increasing your gas production

Drink Lots of Water

Drinking lots of water will prevent constipation, another cause of gas formation. 

It will also improve digestion, allowing any trapped gas to move down the system. This will relieve chest pains when hungry.

Additionally, did you know drinking warm water helps relieve acid reflux? Worth the knowledge I believe!

Ginger

Ginger is the magic element that can cure many diseases. Ginger not only helps to improve digestion, but can cure many digestive diseases.

Try taking ginger with tea or honey regularly. If not possible, then many ginger products like ginger drinks or supplements can be purchased.

Exercise 

Exercise keeps your body fit and fine in many ways. It can help relieve gas problems too!

So try to get slight exercise like walking or just moving around after meals to help relieve pain.

Tips to Avoid Gas and Acid Reflux

I’ve provided some simple lifestyle tips that can help with preventing gas and acid reflux permanently. These have helped me immensely, so I hope they help you too.

  • Have dinner 2 hours before going to bed at night.
  • Drink a maximum of 1 glass of water per hour.
  • Drink water at least 1 hour after having a meal.
  • Keep weight in control.

FAQs

Can chest pains when hungry mean heart attack?

Answer: No, chest pains don’t always mean heart attacks. Especially if they’re occurring only when you’re hungry. Heart attacks will have other symptoms like pain in the arm, neck, or jaw. These accompanied with feeling weak and light headed should get you worried. Not otherwise. 

Can diaphragmatic hernia cause chest pains when hungry?

Answer: Diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect where there is a large gap in the diaphragm. This causes the intestines to move upwards near the lungs. 

This condition can cause chest pains whenever you’re hungry. But this is a very rare condition and is identified as soon as a child is born. 

Are you hungry before a heart attack?

Answer: No, instead nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite can occur during a heart attack These are mostly due to lack of blood flow to the body due to blocked arteries.

Conclusion

Alright then, now you know chest pains when hungry is nothing to be worried about at all! Just a little gas buildup or acid reflux is causing all the trouble.

So, from next time just remember to eat timely and follow the remedies provided in here. I hope the article has helped. Thank you for reading!

Sumaiya Hasan

Sumaiya Hasan

Hello readers! I'm Sumaiya, an enthusiastic microbiology student from North South University. I love to read & learn about anything new, especially if they're related to health. I believe people should be better educated about their health, and I'm proud to be able to contribute to their knowledge earning process.

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