Throat pain
August 26, 2012 12:13 PM   Subscribe

I have a pain in my upper chest, presumably in my esophagus. How urgent a medical condition is this, and which doctor should I see?

The pain has existed for about 36 hours. It feels very similar (and on a similar level of pain) to when you eat a big lump of food and it gets stuck in your throat, except the pain isn't going away.

While sitting here right now, the pain is small but slightly annoying; it's worse when swallowing food. (I've been eating normally, but I think from now on I might switch to smoothies and milkshakes etc, because swallowing hard food is a serious annoyance.)

The location of the pain is below where one swallows at the back of the throat. Instead, I would say that if one draws a line from the Adam's apple to a point between the two nipples, it's about in the middle of that line. I *assume* this is in the esophagus, between the stomach and the throat, but I don't really know -- the pain isn't all that individually sharp but rather amorphous.

A key point -- about 36 hours ago (but possibly this event happened hours after the pain started! I'm unsure about assuming too much from this, because the following is an explanation that makes logical sense but could be entirely misleading!) I drank a glass of wine that came from a broken bottle. It's possible there was a small shard of glass, too small to see, and I drank it and it cut my throat. I haven't tasted any blood, haven't felt any weakness from internal bleeding, anything like that. No bloody or black stool.


My question: what doctor do I need to see? Possible internal bleeding from glass - is this an emergency? Can I wait until I can get an appt to see a general internist? (Does a general internist have methods see all the way down my throat to figure this out?)

Will this probably heal on its own? If it is a cut from glass, what could be done? Could it be anything other than a cut from glass?
posted by lewedswiver to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ingesting glass can cause serious issues. If that's a real possibility, go to urgent care now.
posted by kitarra at 12:17 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

See your GP, who might send you to a GI specialist for an upper endoscopy, to look down your throat and esophagus. If the pain worsens or you pass bloody or black stools, get to an ER. Urgent care will just send you to an ER.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on August 26, 2012

Response by poster: Conflicting answers.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:27 PM on August 26, 2012

Best answer: You've asked the internet for medical help. Conflicting answers is all you're going to get. Do you have health insurance? Does it offer a "talk to a nurse" phone number? If so, I'd suggest that.
posted by donnagirl at 12:29 PM on August 26, 2012 [14 favorites]

Response by poster: Haha that's true! Didn't mean to sound snotty.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:30 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I hadn't thought about calling a nurse line, honestly I would have preferred that to asking the internet. They recommended I see urgent care. Doing that now...
posted by lewedswiver at 12:46 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

6 months ago I had pain pretty much like you describe. I'm still recovering from the triple bypass. Get thee to a doctor.
posted by jeporter99 at 4:42 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ok honestly, I had this for three months to the point of vomiting, losing weight, etc. Went to the ER THREE friggen times including freaking out i was having a heart attack (which are similar signs).

@#$##$ ER gave me blood panel to determin if I had a heart protein floating around meaning yep--a grabber. They did an EKG too. All normal.

Then they pretty much laughed at me and gave me a mixture of Lidocaine and Malox to drink. After the wonderful ER trips I went for an endoscopy. Then---a CT from chest to pelvis.

All tests normal. Ton of medical bills. Went to two GI specialists.

What I thougth it was (and of course, according to WebMD).

gall stone
hernia (which they did find but say it was so slight it didn't matter)
and of course heart attack (for women it isn't the right arm pain like a man).

Diagnosis: acid reflux.

I shit you not. All of that including vomiting and severe pain in the mid stomach and that exact pain you had is supposedly acid reflux.

Not saying you should take internet advice but giving you a warning that after three episodes of sitting in the ER fo 15 hours a piece, taking tests up the wazzoo, it's @#$# acid reflux.

I give up. I still gag/wretch out of the blue and I don't have a classic "heartburn" feeling (never did) but there you go.

And somthing I learned, ERs are really good for grabbers, stabbings, auto accidents, axes to the head, etc. Gory, unconscious, bleeding profusely stuff. Anything else, you'll get blood work and some stupid high price Malox + Licocaine solution. They told me that if you can calmly talk and walk into the ER, then it's not an emergency.

I don't know, my dad drove himself to the hospital for a triple bypass. Seems he's been having mini heart attacks for 8 years then the big one hit. So the ER judgement is a bit sketchy.

Good luck and feel better.
posted by stormpooper at 11:56 AM on August 27, 2012

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