Why does my chest hurt when I swallow food?

Answer

According to MedlinePlus, possible causes of swallowing pain are infections, such as sore throat, thrush, gum disease, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus and human immunodeficiency virus. MedlinePlus notes that swallowing pain is also caused by problems with the esophagus, such as esophagus inflammation, gastroesophageal reflux disease, esophageal spasms, achalasia, esophagus ulcer and nutcracker esophagus.

Swallowing pain refers to any pain when swallowing, and it involves chest pain or pressure in the neck and upper chest, MedlinePlus explains. Healthline discusses that the most common causes of difficulty in swallowing are chronic cough, cold, flu, acid reflux disease, throat infection, tonsillitis and improper swallowing of jagged foods, such as chips and crackers. According to WebMD, pericarditis, an inflammation or infection of the heart sac, usually causes a sharp pain, particularly when swallowing food.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that dysphagia (i.e. difficulty in swallowing) is the feeling that food sticks in the throat or chest. In children, it is often caused by physical malformations and certain conditions. In adults, it is typically due to conditions that make the esophagus narrow. At times, dysphagia also occurs when the esophagus muscle does not relax enough to allow food to pass into the stomach.

Along with chest pain and pressure in the mid-chest area, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains that the symptoms of esophageal dysphagia are a sensation of food stuck in the throat or chest, pain with swallowing, chronic heartburn, belching and a sore throat.

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