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Severe Stomach or Chest Pains After Eating

by
author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Severe Stomach or Chest Pains After Eating
Chest pain after eating may be from an allergic reaction. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Severe stomach or chest pain after eating can be a frightening experience. You may feel cramping in your abdomen or tightness in your chest within minutes after eating specific foods. A common cause of severe stomach pain or chest pain after eating is a food allergy. Food allergies affect more children than adults, but anyone at any age can develop a food allergy. Increased inflammation in the gut or in the lungs can cause mild to severe pain, according to MayoClinic.com.

Background

A food allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to the proteins found in certain foods. The most common foods that cause an allergic reaction are fish, peanuts, nuts, milk, eggs, wheat and soy, according to MedlinePlus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Health. During an allergic reaction to food, your immune system produces antibodies and certain chemicals to fight off the food proteins. One chemical in particular that causes inflammation is histamine. Histamine is released in soft tissue, such as the intestines or lungs, and causes swelling.

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Stomach Pain

Stomach pain and discomfort is a common symptom of a food allergy. Stomach pain is the result of abdominal cramping and excessive gas. The increased histamine in the intestines causes the lining to swell, leading to nausea, pain, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues, according to MedlinePlus. The stomach pain can develop within minutes after eating the food or within the first hour.

Chest Pains

Chest pain after eating, resulting from a food allergy, is related to an asthma-like reaction. The lungs begin to swell, cutting off your airways, making it difficult to breath. You may develop symptoms, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, tightness or discomfort, coughing and wheezing, according to MayoClinic.com. Wheezing is a high-pitched sound made from the constricted airways.

Other Possibilities

Chest pain and severe stomach pain after eating may be related to another medical condition and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Other medical conditions to consider are gallbladder disease, chronic bronchitis, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerance or lung cancer, according to FamilyDoctor.org.

Consideration

Chest pain and stomach pain may be a sign of a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylactic shock, will cause your blood pressure to drop, your heart rate to increase and your face to swell. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends calling 911 at the first signs of these symptoms. Certain foods may trigger asthma, which can cause severe chest pains but should not affect your stomach.

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