What are the most common causes of chest pain and nausea?

Chest pain and nausea can be related to common activities such as eating, drinking, and stress. While some people may immediately think these symptoms are a sign of a heart attack, more often they can be related to caffeine overdose, heartburn, and GERD. Other causes can include a peptic ulcer, gastritis, and heart attack.

Caffeine is a stimulant and diuretic found in coffee, chocolate, and some herbal remedies. It's common for the average coffee drinker to consume around 200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine every day. When too much caffeine is consumed in a short period of time, it can lead to chest pain and nausea. Commonly called caffeine or nervousness of coffee, symptoms usually go away within a few hours.

Heartburn is another common cause of these symptoms. This is a digestive disorder that can cause burning, pain, and difficulty swallowing. The stomach sits just behind the breastbone in the lower midline of the rib cage, so when heartburn strikes, it can feel similar to a heart attack.

GERD or gastrointestinal reflux disease occurs when stomach acids back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn, chest pain, and nausea. This condition is caused by Helicobacter pylori either the bacterium H. pylori . Tests may be ordered to detect it, so appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

A peptic ulcer is when the lining of the stomach, or first segment of the small intestine, erodes. Medical professionals believe that these ulcers are caused by certain medications or bacterial infections. A peptic ulcer is often compared to an open sore inside the stomach, and can cause chest pain and nausea, as well as internal bleeding.

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining that may be related to alcoholism. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can also cause this condition. Symptoms generally include unexplained nausea, chest pain, and indigestion.

Chest pain and nausea can also be signs of a heart attack, so they should not be ignored. When the heart attack is treated within the first 20 to 40 minutes, the heart muscle can be spared without damage, in most cases. When in doubt, medical professionals recommend that people with chest pain go to a nearby emergency room or call emergency services.

Go up