Pressure in chest is described by some people as a weight lying on top of the chest, or a band wrapped around it. The sensation can come from different parts of your chest, including chest wall muscles, esophagus, articulations, and even heart. It can come with or without associated pain. If this pressure sensation in chest occurs after eating, should you worry about it?
Why Do You Feel Pressure in Chest After Eating?
This is the main cause of pressure in the chest after eating. Because of today’s agitated life style, many people tend to eat quickly, unknowingly placing an increased pressure on their stomach’s capacity and forcing it to distend itself in order to fit all the extra content. This will create a chest discomfort. Symptoms of overeating also include:
- Feeling bloated
- Acid reflux
2. Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition when stomach acids increase due to a lack of constriction of an orifice called sphincter which is located at the end of the esophagus. It will cause the sensation of burning or pressure in chest after eating, especially after a heavy meal. Some factors can trigger acid reflux reactions, including:
- Skipping meals, especially breakfast
- Not having a regular eating schedule
- Eating fatty and spicy foods constantly
- Ingesting alcohol
- Having large amounts of coffee or caffeinated drinks
- Not waiting after eating before going to sleep
- Malfunctioning of the digestive system
This is a conjunction of digestive signs and symptoms that can also cause pressure in the chest. Other symptoms include:
- Feeling bloated
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Burping and flatulence
4. Gallbladder Disease
The gallbladder is an organ located within the liver, and connected to the small intestine through a small tube called the cystic duct. Its function is to liberate a substance called bile that helps the digestion process, especially when a fatty meal is taken.
Excessive cholesterol content in gallbladder can cause gallstones to form. If one or more of these stones come out of the gallbladder and go into the cystic duct, the duct can become obstructed, leading to a tremendous abdominal pain, pressure in chest, and digestive symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This pain does not easily subside with common painkillers and will eventually need surgery to extract the gallbladder.
An increased risk of gallstones can be due to several reasons:
- High cholesterol levels
- High levels of estrogen in women (this can happen when contraceptive pills are taken)
- Digestive conditions such as Crohn's disease
Whenever the heart fails to function properly, a condition called arrhythmia can occur. The symptoms can include fast, slow or skipped heartbeat, and chest pressure or pain. This is something serious and sometimes can be life-threatening.
In a healthy heart, a part called the sinus acts as a pacemaker, leading the electric pulse through all the organs. When the normal path for this electrical conduction is altered or blocked, the hearth starts functioning erratically.
This condition usually appears in middle aged people with a family history of heart disease, people with a hearth abnormality from birth, or people suffering from imbalance of certain hormones.
6. Other Causes
- Certain foods: Studies have shown that a diet with high intake of fatty, spicy and acidic foods can lead to digestive symptoms and pressure in the chest. These foods include: coffee, alcohol, full-fat dairies and sauces, fatty foods such pizza and French fries, chocolate, tomato sauce, chili, orange juice, lemonade, carbonated beverages, etc.
- Gastritis: Gastritis can also cause pressure in chest after eating. The stomach lining can become swollen due to bad eating habits such as irregular diet, and eating unhealthy foods like alcohol, coffee and processed foods.
What to Do If You Feel Pressure in the Chest After Eating
1. Go See the Doctor
You should always go and see your doctor if you feel some sort of chest discomfort or chest pressure under any circumstance. Seek emergency help if you also experience any of these symptoms:
- Decrease in consciousness level (feeling dizzy, very sleepy, confused or non-responding)
- Chest pain, tightness or discomfort that radiates to the left arm, left shoulder, back or jaw
- Shortness of breath without obvious cause
- Sweaty and cold skin, or skin that turns to a bluish or purple color around the lips and nails
- Coughing up yellow-green mucus along with fever, shortness of breath or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe cramping or tearing sensation in the chest
- Heart palpitations or a fluttering feeling in the chest
- Sudden chest tightness or pain with shortness of breath
If your symptoms are not serious, here are some tips for you to learn how to manage them.
2. Dietary Suggestions
- Try avoiding all the food mentioned above. Increase the intake of vegetables and non-acidic fruits, such as bell pepper, squash, asparagus, avocado, lettuce, celery, carrots, banana, apples, pears, peaches, and berries.
- Foods rich in vitamin B and calcium, such as beans, whole-grain cereals and nuts like almonds and peanuts, are also recommended.
- Include lean proteins to your diet, and be sure to ingest a sufficient amount of water each day in order to avoid dehydration and ensure a normal digestive process.
3. Lifestyle Changes
- Exercise regularly to promote a healthy digestive system.
- Avoid lying down right after eating.
- Follow a regular eating schedule, and do not skip any meal.
- Try to eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied to avoid overeating.
- Quit smoking and drinking alcohol, or at least decrease the frequency and amount.
- Learn ways to control your stress levels.
- If you talk while you chew, or eat with your mouth open, you will ingest large amounts of air, which can make you feel bloated. So you'd better close your mouth while eating.
- Try and drink your beverages after finishing eating, not during eating.
- Walk for a little while at a slow pace after eating in order to help improve the digestive process.
- Avoid spicy and fatty foods.
- Avoid coffee and carbonated beverages.
If you follow all the suggestions listed above and keep experiencing pressure in chest after eating, your doctor will probably prescribe you some drugs after doing examinations.