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198627 tn?1203057607


Am I having indigestion? I feel as though my chest hurts. It burns in the middle. Aches. It is scaring me!!! Help.
14 Responses
242912 tn?1402547092
Hi Rhonda......it probably is just heartburn, however, if the pain is severe and you're feeling nauseated, you should go to the ER.  It could be an ulcer.  A couple months ago I thought I was just having severe heartburn, but it turned out to be 2 duodenal ulcers and it was a good thing I went to the er because they admitted me for 5 days.  Better to be safe than sorry.  

Of course, it could be a heart attack as well, but you're pretty young for that.  

Tagamet or Cimetidine are 2 over the counter meds that work well for heartburn.

Only you know how much pain your in.  If you can't stand it, get to the ER.  

213375 tn?1202407400
Great advice fmxsmkr, but I would like to say that the feeling you describe is exactly what I feel when I have severe heartburn.  It also tends to be worse when I have high anxiety.  There is a theory that our bodies go into panic mode due to physical stress, as well as emotional, and it could be that you may have undiagnosed GERD (chronic reflux) which heightens your anxiety.  I found it to be true in my case when I was diagnosed with esphogitis (enflamed esophogus due to chronic reflux).

Hope this helps and that you feel better soon!

299912 tn?1341626700
To start with, I am not sure that I fully agree with the comments that FMX made. One thing that we do not want to do is put the word heart attack and things like that in these posts when many people are afraid of this and in most cases it is not even likely. I realize that they were only trying to list SEVERAL possibilites, but think that we shouldb be more tactful.

To start with, in relation to a heart attack, having been a paramedic in my late teens/early 20s, I can tell you (and everyone for that matter) that if you were having a heart attack, YOU WOULD KNOW. It would be the WORST pain you have ever felt and the strangest - oh and MORE than likely you wouldn;t be able to jump on here an write a post about it.

We need to consider the more obvious culprits here - since you have anxiety, it is probably just heartburn/indigestion, or could even be an airbubble or gas. I used to have these feeling A LOT when I was a teen (before I ever had any symptoms of anxiety). It was almost on a daily basis. Heartburn can be caused by stress, which is in the same boat as anxiety/panic, etc. The first step to do when you feel like this is to take something like pepcid AC or tagemet, etc. You will have to be a little patient, as it takes about 30 minutes to work, but for me it works VERY good. If you are still having the pain, or it is getting worse (not that you THINK it is getting worse, but that it really is getting worse), then I suggest a visit to the ER or, more preferrably general doc or urgent care.

Those of us with anxiety tend to be hypochondriacs, thinking that normal symptoms of a very common thing are SO MUCH more than they really are. We need not jump the gun here and take it step by step. I noticed that you posted this yesterday. How did it turn out?

346570 tn?1267503627
I agree with Mike....

Talk of heart attacks scar the poopies out of me ugh...

198627 tn?1203057607
Thanks guys! I feel better now. It is nice to have someone to talk to. Thanks so much!!!
242912 tn?1402547092
I agree with both of you about the heart attack issue and ALMOST didn't mention it, but wanted to cover all bases.  

That was good input and I'll remember that

346570 tn?1267503627
ya know i have gotten a lot of **** lately for the things I have posted (people not agreeing and so on)

anyway its nice to see someone take things the right way and not be offended by what was said.Thank you

And I know you meant well, covering everything is a good idea.
242912 tn?1402547092
I really appreciate your reply hun.  Thank you!   I have been feeling so much more anxious lately and the last thing I want to do is pass it on.  
370181 tn?1428180348
The very LAST thing I want is for this thread to turn into a nasty disagreement about what information should or should not be "revealed" to a poster. But I disagree with Mike saying "we should not put the word heart attack and things like that in these posts." I DO realize Mike that many people on this forum have health phobias and most particularly, heart anxiety. But I feel VERY strongly that the "head in the sand" approach is not very responsible.
We have a young woman, age 29, worrying about a burning feeling in her chest, which she states hurts and is wondering if it could be indegestion.
I would respond to her that MORE THAN LIKELY she is indeed suffering from indegestion, possibly GERD. But I would want to know about these symptoms. How long have they been going on? When does she feel them? How long do they last? Does it get worse when she lays down? Do any OTC meds such as the Tagamet (and others too numerous to mention) help with these feelings? Does she feel this way after eating certain foods? What, if any, other symptoms do you have along with the burning in your chest?
Getting back to my basic disagreement about not mentioning the possibility of heart attack..........it IS highly unlikely that a healthy 29 year old woman would suffer an MI, but it's NOT unheard of. That's why the above questions are very important information we need to have from this woman.
Mike, you said you had been an EMT in your teens/early twenties. I checked your profile and you are 29, the same age as our young woman. I have to wonder if you have kept up with medical literature during the time since you've left the paramedic field? If you had, you would know that the symptoms of a heart attack are generally different for women than they are for men. (I don't happen to have the stats in front of me, but it's a very substantial number) Men tend to have the classic "movie" MI.........they grow pale, begin to sweat profusely, say they don't feel well at all, grab their chest in what you called the worst pain they'd ever felt, and fall over dead. (Or not, if they're lucky) Women, on the other hand, can have very subtle symptoms for DAYS before the actual attack occurs. The symptoms tend to be far more diffuse. They can have pain in their shoulders that may or may not radiate to the jaw, neck, either arm or the upper abdomen. They can have symptoms that mimic the flu with nausea and vomiting.
These are just a few of the different kinds of symptoms we women get and it's why I believe it's important for ALL women, of any age, to be aware of the differences.
I do not want to scare anyone and I don't like reading or hearing about heart attacks any more than any of you..........but when someone writes to us on this forum and complains of chest pains, before we glibly send them off to WalMart for Rolaids, we need to ask some VERY serious and important questions, even if those questions scare them. I feel we owe them the best advice we can, backed up by current and correct information.
To the young woman who posted about her indegestion, I would wait for her answers to my questions, probably advise her to try an OTC med like liquid Maalox the next time she had an "attack" and if it helped her, then I would tell her my best GUESS was that it WAS indegestion, (as Maalox or ANY kind of indegstion med will NOT stop the symptoms of an MI) but I would STILL tell her to see her doctor for a cardio check up.
And I KNOW there will be some of you who write me and say YOUR Aunt Edna died of a heart attack by the dessert trolley, grabbing her chest in excruciating pain............please refer back to what I said about the stats. That kind of MI can and does happen in women just as a more diffuse MI can happen in men.
Mike, I really don't mean to slam your advice, which for the most part, I thought was good, but another thing, as an ex-paramedic, you know that in the event of an MI, every second counts and waiting 30+ minutes for a med to get into our systems could mean the difference between life and death.
To rhonda..........I am truly sorry if I've written things here that have scared you, or worse, have caused you to experience panic. At your age I would tend to agree with Mike, that coupled with your anxiety issues, you probably DO suffer from bouts of indegestion. I stand by my advice, though, that you see your doctor soon and tell him/her what is going on.  
Please let us know what they say. We care very much!
242912 tn?1402547092
That's exactly what I was thinking!  And exactly why I ended up posting it.  I have heard that a womens symptoms can be much different than mens.  That we can have subtle symptoms for days.

Anyway, that's where my head was at with my answer.  But I can see Mike's point also.  Maybe I could have been more tactful.  
370181 tn?1428180348
Well g/f, our heads are in the same space then. And as far as being "tactful," I think you just stated the obvious (and the wise response) and have NO reason to feel that you should have done anything differently. It's difficult to tip-toe around the possibility of an MI..............but I really do see it as our responsibility to give posters ALL the information we can, and if that scares them, then I hope they post again for even more support.
Thanks for watching my back.
Avatar universal
Hope you feel better already, Rhonda!

Bear in mind that anxiety does cause stomach/digestion problems as one of the first physical symptoms. The stomach is one of the most sensitive organs to anxiety. So when we're anxious, we might as well have heartburn, or just feel funny in our stomach. Of course, the problem here is anxiety, which is what we have to work at. But it's a vicious circle: we feel something in our stomach, we begin to worry, it gets worse... etc
299912 tn?1341626700
To start with, I was not at all suggesting that we take a "head in the sand" approach as you put it. You can tell from many of my other posts, that I do not take that apporoach. HOWEVER, I was stating that we should be a bit more tactful in HOW we state the things we do. One thing I do not want to see happen is for anyone to pass along even more anxiety based on our own fears. I used to be a heart anxiety person as well, and with good reason. I was told (incorrectly) by so many people when I first started having panic attacks that I had some sort of heart condition. It scared the **** outta me, and caused my anxiety to be worse. I just do not want to see that happen.

The way I read the post was that it could be indigestion, ulcers, or...a heart attack. Well, my reaction was that this was a very short route from a to z and there is more than likely 99 possible, and more likely based on age, different things this could be. I am not saying that anyone need to take my approach, but I think that if we suspect that someone needs to seek more than our advice, then we should simply say it could be something more serious and that they should go the the doc as soon as possible. As we all know anxiety and panic sufferers tend to latch on to one specific idea and stick with it as a cause for anxiety. I do and I know many others do as well. What I am afraid will happen is get someone to think "oh, wow a heart attack - I did not even THINK of that" and continue to have that be a cause of anxiety.

And you contradict yourself when you said that we should ask more questions, such as " How long have they been going on? When does she feel them? How long do they last? Does it get worse when she lays down? Do any OTC meds such as the Tagamet (and others too numerous to mention) help with these feelings? Does she feel this way after eating certain foods? What, if any, other symptoms do you have along with the burning in your chest?" Later, you said that every second of an MI counts (which is true), so why then ask all these questions and wait for a response?

We are not doctors and therefore I do not think that we should offer any advice (or possible diagnoses) on things we are not trained to do. I mean, why not say that it could be aortic dissection or fulminant myocarditis? Sounds silly right? The way I see it is that these rare conditions are no more out there than a heart attack for a 29 year old who happens to be suffering from anxiety and panic and, like me and many others, are more likely to overindulge their symptoms (not on purpose, but as a direct response to the anxiety).

The number 1 rule of medicine is to start at the simple and more logical and probable cause of symptoms and signs, then progress to the more unusual. This is what has helped me get past my anxiety.

Either way, I never once said that she was not having a heart attack. I simply stated that she more than likely was not, which is a big difference. My sole point was that we should be VERY cautious in not causing more anxiety when we are trying to help get rid of it. If someone had a fear of loud noises, we certainly would not talk to them with a bullhorn. I know that it was unintentional in this case and think that FMX understood my point. I understood what they were saying all along, just think that we should not put any suggestions in the forum that would cause panic. Even if Rhonda did not panic because of it - there may be MANY others that browse the posts and have the same symptoms and convince themselves based on the advice given that they are having a heart attack. It is no ones intentions to do so. It is just a slippery slope is all I am saying. Thanks.

Avatar universal
Why do I feel I have heartburn that lasted last night and again this morning
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370181 tn?1428180348
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