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Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Chest Pains related to Alcohol


 wasley81 - Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:31 am

Hi
I have been suffering from all sorts of chest pains for a long while now.

Something that seems to make my pains worst is alcohol is if I just have a beer or 2, the next day I nearly always get very back pains around top front of the left side of my chest around where my heat is.
It almost feels like I get cramp in my heart and its very very painful to the extent that sometimes I think I could be having some sort of heart attack.
The serious pain and cramp feeling will only last a few seconds but after that i'm left with a very dull pain and almost feels like it wants to cramp up again.
I also get painful palpitations/heart beats that just last for a second.

My chest had never been right after a very bad chest infection.

I'm getting very concerned about this.
I have been to the doctor many time and have had many ECGs and chest xrays but nothing ever shows up.

I'm currently getting physiotherapy in the hope that it might be Costochondritis but the physio can't really replicate the pain when pushing on certain areas i've tried lots of different anti-inflammatory drugs and they make no difference also i have had one electroacupuncture session and that didnt seem to help.

I'm really stuck with where to go and who to see as I feel I have tried everything.

Any help or pointers will be much appreciated.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Jul 13, 2008 4:16 pm

User avatar Hello -

First, if I were you I'd probably lay off the beers if they seem to aggravate the problem. While there's no clear reason why alcohol should cause heart pain, it does apparently play a role in your chest discomfort. I suspect, based on what you've described as well as the fact that heart disease has pretty much been ruled out, plus the fact that this has been going on for seven years without getting better or worse (heart disease would have gotten worse once it becomes unstable enough to cause chest pain at rest). and considering the fact that the severe pain only lasts a few seconds, that your problem is probably one of the upper GI tract. It sounds like it could be simple gas (beer contains a lot of bublles), or perhaps acid reflux, maybe causing what's called, oddly enough, cardiospasm, which is actually a very painful spasm of the esophagus (which is comprised of cardiac muscle). You might try an over-the-counter anti-GERD medication like Prilosec, or perhaps you could get your doctor to prescribe a more potent one for you. If you are going to continue to beer (no real problem there if it's just a couple now and then), perhaps you should try taking Prilosec a few hours before you drink or even after, but before the symptoms begin.

If your physiotherapist can't duplicate the pain via manual pressure, it probably isn't costochondritis, which almost always can be located manually. I think it is an internal, probably GI-related issue. Give this some thought and maybe try the Prilosec (or some similar product) and see what happens.

By all means follow up with us here, too, especially if you get no relief. Good luck to you.
 wasley81 - Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:09 am

Hi, thanks very much for your advice,

This would kinda make sense if this was the case, i'm sure when this all started I went down the road.
I'll try taking the tablets before a few drinks and see if that makes any difference.

The only thing that puzzles me is it all started when I have a extremely bad chest infection.
I would say the pain has very slowly got worst.
I didn't used to get what I can only describe and muscle/cramps in my chest that feels like pain from my heart.
This could be as you said a cardiospasm, I will try some strong tablets for acid reflux and see if that helps.
Is it possible this could have all been caused by a chest infection>?

Thanks for your help
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:20 am

User avatar Hello again -

You're very welcome. It seems unlikely this sort of problem would be related to a former chest infection (and I am assuming you mean a respiratory infection like bronchitis or pneumonia, correct?). The mechanism seems to follow the path of drink several beers, gas collects, gurgling takes place, then the pain follows. It actually can be quite painful. See if the tablets help and if so you probably have your answer. If not, I'd still be inclined to think the next stop should probably be a gastroenterologist, but probably your GP first.

Good luck to you. Please keep us updated.
 abs012 - Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:37 pm

I am 18 and a female student athlete who runs cross-country and am wondering about this issue with "Alcohol related chestpains". This pain would occur on the left side of my chest, near the heart area. I like to sleep on my back and sometimes role to the side and feel the sudden sharp pain for a good 10 seconds. The ideas I have come up with at first was swimming competitively. But now I haven't swam in a while and 5 months later the pain is back.

I started drinking alcohol at parties when i graduated from high school and now that the cross-country season is over i started drinking again. And this is where the pain comes in. It has only occured after the consumption of alcohol. I have a gut feeling this problem will continue and turn into a heart disease and not be able to run ever again.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:06 pm

User avatar For abs012: This isn't a heart-related condition, and your notion of the location of the heart, like so many people's, is off a little (to the left). Your heart is in the center of your chest, beneath the breast bone. Heart pains are almost never sharp, stabbing or sticking in nature, and are never elicited by pressure or posture. This sounds very much like costchondritis, an inflammation of the cartilege between the ribs, and is quite benign but also often pretty uncomfortable. It responds well to over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofin or naproxyn as Advil or Aleve respectively). This happens in both training athletes, athletes in lapsed training (that would be you) and just plain folks who maybe lifted something or moved the wrong way. It can also be caused virally, so it can happen to anyone. Alcohol's relationship, in any case, would be coincidental most likely. There's no logical reason for alcohol cosumption to cause any sort of pain (other than possible liver or stomach pain in somone with advanced alchol-related disease). This is chest-wall soreness you're describing.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and please follow up with us here as needed.

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