8 Dangerous Conditions that Mimic Heartburn

We have all experienced burning pain in the chest or throat after a heavy meal. Most times this pain is nothing but heartburn, and it usually disappears after a few hours.

However, this burning pain in this area can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. Below are some common conditions that can cause a heartburn-like sensation.

1. Pancreatic Cancer

One of the biggest problems with pancreatic cancer is that the symptoms are not easy to spot. In fact, most people confuse it with heartburn and other digestive problems.

As you may know, the pancreas plays a vital role in digestion. Therefore, pancreatic cancer can hinder digestion, which may cause heartburn and indigestion. Research also shows that pancreatic cancer causes sudden unexplained weight loss.

2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Most times, when people experience heartburn-like pain regularly, it means they have GERD. Luckily, doctors can easily identify this condition by doing a test, so make an appointment, if your heartburn is recurring.

3. Heart Attack

According to the Mayo Clinic, it can be hard to differentiate between severe heartburn and a heart attack. In fact, a heartburn-like pain after a big meal could be a sign of heart attack, due to reduced flow of blood to the heart.

Call 911 if chest pain persists and you’re not sure whether it’s heartburn or heart attack. It’s also important to know that women can experience different heart attack signs from men.

4. Gallbladder Attack

You probably know that eating spicy foods, being overweight or lying down after eating can cause heartburn. Well, it turns out that these things can also trigger a gallbladder attack.

A gallbladder attack occurs when bile accumulates in the gallbladder increasing pressure and sometimes causing rupture. If the pain radiates to your right shoulder and back, chances are it’s a gallbladder attack.

5. Esophageal Cancer

While esophageal cancer is very rare, it’s still a possibility. If you have a heartburn that never seems to disappear, ask a doctor to do a test on your esophagus.

Note that excessive drinking and smoking increase your risk of oesophageal cancer.

6. Anxiety

While researchers haven’t established the connection, research shows that there’s a link between anxiety and heartburn. In fact, reducing anxiety through meditation, massage and exercise can help ease heartburn.

7. Stomach Ulcer

A person with ulcers may experience a burning sensation on the upper stomach and chest, but that pain usually disappears when you take acid-suppressing meds. If you have ulcers, don’t just take meds that mask the symptoms, talk to your doctor about antibiotics that kill H. pylori bacteria.

8. Hiatal Hernia

This is a condition where the upper abdomen pushes through the diaphragm muscle. A hiatal hernia actually causes heartburn, because it forces food up into the esophagus.

You need to see a doctor if you suspect you have this condition. In the meantime, eat smaller meals, avoid eating before bed, and don’t drink too much alcohol.

Image via Thinkstock

70 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

SEND
John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Joanna M
Joanna M8 months ago

TY

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda M8 months ago

OMFG, I remember those gallbladder attacks! With the first one, I thought it was a heart attack! I had FOUR before the last one drove me to hit the ER (we didn't have health insurance at the time and I didn't know we qualified for Medicaid under the expansion due to our income, so no doctor), and the only reason I went then was because my husband threatened to call the ambulance if I didn't drive myself (he really fights mean). Between the time it took to find out we qualified for Medicaid, finding a doctor who would take us and scheduling a physical before I could even SEE a surgeon, seeing the surgeon for a consult, and scheduling the surgery, I had to keep those stones "dormant" for FIVE MONTHS, and this was during the holiday season on top of all that! I wouldn't wish that on anybody (well, except my worst enemies, they pissed me off severely!).

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer9 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND