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Since the weekend, everytime I swallow I get an intense pain in my esophagus. What's that about?
January 23, 2008 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Since the weekend, everytime I swallow I get an intense pain in my esophagus. What's that about?

The pain happens whether I'm just swallowing, drinking something, or eating. I'm chewing my food really well.

The pain is in the middle of my chest, almost directly between my boobs. It's the kind of pain that you get if you haven't chewed something well enough and you can kind of feel it going down. Except, as I said, it happens when I'm not swallowing food. The pain is worse with food, but it's there even with just spit or whatever.

I've had acid reflux and heartburn before, and it's never felt like this. I've taken some Pepcid and some Pepto, but neither have helped.

I'm of course paranoid that something's stuck in there and I'll have to have my throat snaked out like it was a clogged drain. I know that's not the case, but what on earth could this be? What should I do to try and get the "clog" to go away?

I know you are not my doctor, but I don't want to go to the doctor and have her laugh at me if this is some kind of heartburn I don't know about. Also, you know, that takes money I don't have.
posted by misanthropicsarah to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Well, if this is a sign of deadly throat cancer or a flatworm infestation of my esophagus, I suppose I'd like to know that.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:01 AM on January 23, 2008


Hiatal hernia.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2008


A long time ago I had something similar to this which the doctor decided was inflammation of the fluid sac around my heart. The treatment was very high doses of ibuprofen. In retrospect I sort of suspect it was something psychosomatic caused by high stress, but you never know. You should really just go see a doctor.
posted by nanojath at 8:05 AM on January 23, 2008


Since the weekend,

It's now Wednesday morning. You've had this for two days at least, so you really, really, really, really need to go see a doctor. Have you tried this free clinic in your city?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2008


I had this on Black Friday, and it ruined my shopping. On the plus side, it cleared up within two days. I assumed it was a mild respiratory infection that was causing a lot of pus and swelling in my throat, but I'm certainly not a doctor. You should probably make an appointment, but if it were me, I'd wait it out a couple more days and not ingest anything too irritating.
posted by almostmanda at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2008


Hiatal hernia, non-specific achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis, impacted food in your esophagus, or some other non-specific inflammation. I say this because I just had an upper endoscopy done for the same reason. Get thee to a doctor since while these conditions might be tolerable (I lasted for 9 months because i'm stubborn), none of them are fun and they can be corrected.
posted by arimathea at 8:34 AM on January 23, 2008


The pain is worse with food, but it's there even with just spit or whatever.

This is the red flag for me. If it were some kind of weird heartburn, spit wouldn't exacerbate it, right? But it could be esophageal spasms or inflammation or a bunch of other largely really treatable things.

Brandon, do you think perhaps there are more than 10 low income/uninsured people per day in West Philly who need medical treatment?
posted by desuetude at 8:35 AM on January 23, 2008


I had the EXACT same thing happen on vacation when I started a course of antibiotics. Apparently some antibiotics can cause a esophageal ulcer. The pain so bad I almost went to the emergency room, and I could barely eat or drink. As soon as I stopped the antibiotics, though, the pain started to recede and was gone within 48 hrs. Could that be it?
posted by whitewall at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2008


Are you breathing OK? I felt like I had a potato chip stuck sideways in my throat that hurt every time I took a breath, plus I felt a huge weight on my chest AND I had a fever. Turns out I had pneumonia. Got antibiotics at the urgent care clinic and felt great within a day (great = no longer feeling like death was imminent).

I am not any kind of medical professional; this was just my experience.
posted by desjardins at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2008


Yep, I'm breathing fine (thank goodness).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:44 AM on January 23, 2008


It sounds like it might be an esophageal ulcer to me, although there are other possibilities. It's not something to laugh about; it needs to be taken seriously. I recommend seeing your doctor.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:52 AM on January 23, 2008


A long time ago I had something similar to this which the doctor decided was inflammation of the fluid sac around my heart. I've had this (pericarditis) three times, and I don't think the OP has it. The pain from pericarditis is very intense, literally takes your breath away. It hurts less to exhale, and leaning forward slightly helps ever so slightly to alleviate the pain. Mine always had to be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like Feldene, though. I also have a hiatal hernia and when it acts up the pain is similar to pericarditis, but not nearly as strong. But it hurts all the time, not just during the act of swallowing. Nthing that the OP see a doctor. I was originally reluctant to go when my hernia pain first flared up because I was afraid they were going to stick some kind of tube down my throat, but all was revealed with just a couple of chest X-rays. Good luck!
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:36 AM on January 23, 2008


Take some ibuprofen and call your doctor.
posted by InsanePenguin at 11:45 AM on January 23, 2008


Sounds like an esophageal ulcer. I had one once. It was caused by excessive ibuprofen consumption.
posted by sourwookie at 12:11 PM on January 23, 2008


I know you are not my doctor, but I don't want to go to the doctor and have her laugh at me if this is some kind of heartburn I don't know about. Also, you know, that takes money I don't have.

There are a lot of things it could be, some of which will require some kind of treatment, some of which won't. Even if it is heartburn, people are often told to see the doctor if they have it more than twice a week - this is one episode, but you've had it for three days (at least). Really, the best thing to do is to just go see the doctor.

I can understand not wanting to spend money if you don't have to, but this is your health we're talking about. If you go, you might pay for an office visit and find out it was something trivial. If you don't go, it might end up getting worse, and then it'll probably be a lot more expensive to treat than it would be now. Your doctor would much rather see you come in with heartburn now than to see you show up later with something really serious. She won't laugh at you, and you won't be wasting money.
posted by I Said, I've Got A Big Stick at 12:15 PM on January 23, 2008


Sometimes taking a pill (even a vitamin) will casue this kind of erosion problem, because it gets stuck going down the esophagus, and causes an irritation to that spot. I had this happen to me, and had to have a barium swallow (yum!) x-ray. The doctor said to just be sure to take all pills with a lot of water in the future, and also to eat a piece of bread or something after you takethe pill to insure that it goes all the way down. I find a couple of bites of banana work for me. Have had no problem since.
posted by mmf at 12:32 PM on January 23, 2008


I got a chip stuck in the valve on the top of my stomach once, and it sounds just like this. Took about a week to get better. I'd say go see a doctor, but I didn't, and I was fine. I mean, go see a doctor.
posted by norm at 2:10 PM on January 23, 2008


InsanePenguin: Take some ibuprofen and call your doctor.

sourwookie: Sounds like an esophageal ulcer. I had one once. It was caused by excessive ibuprofen consumption.

(sigh)

Just listen to ikkyu2:

ikkyu2: I recommend seeing your doctor.
posted by loiseau at 3:14 PM on January 23, 2008


loiseau: of course I agree to see a doctor. I just offer up via the treatment perscribed to me to lay off the ibuprofin.

I was taking 3-4 800 mg doses a day in order to deal with my running schedule (alarm goes off. Take one no-doze, one sudafed, four advil. Hit snooze. Wake up half an hour later and run three miles. More no-doze and advil whenever cranky in the afternoon, evening, or before a gig.

Yes, I got an ulcer. Cutting out the ibuprofen made it go away. The connection between ibuprofen and ulcers is no secret.
posted by sourwookie at 1:04 AM on January 24, 2008


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