Numerous conditions can cause stomach pain when swallowing food. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), pain, including stomach pain, sometimes occurs when you swallow. Swallowing-related pain may be felt anywhere from your upper neck to your mid-abdomen. In some cases, you may experience the sensation of stomach pain when swallowing. If you experience stomach, or upper abdominal pain, when swallowing, this may be a symptom of a serious disorder or condition.
Achalasia is an esophagus-related condition that may cause the sensation of pain in your stomach. According to the Cleveland Clinic, achalasia is a condition in which your esophagus is unable to move food into your stomach. If you have achalasia, your lower esophageal sphincter — the muscular valve location at the end of your esophagus, just above your stomach — remains closed during swallowing, which causes a backup of food. Along with stomach pain and difficulty swallowing, common signs and symptoms associated with achalasia include vomiting undigested food, chest pain, heartburn and weight loss. The Cleveland Clinic states achalasia may be caused by a virus or by an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks nerve cells within the muscle layers of your esophagus.
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Esophagitis is a medical condition that may cause stomach, or upper abdominal, pain when swallowing. MayoClinic.com states esophagitis is inflammation that damages tissues in your esophagus, or the muscular tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Esophagitis may be caused by numerous factors, including stomach acids backing up into your esophagus, infection, oral medication and certain allergies. Common signs and symptoms associated with esophagitis include stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, painful swallowing, chest pain that occurs with eating, nausea, vomiting, regurgitation of saliva and decreased appetite. Certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing esophagitis, including obesity, smoking, pregnancy, a family history of esophagitis, consuming certain foods and hiatal hernia.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may cause stomach pain when you swallow food. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), GERD is a condition caused by the reflux of stomach acid into your esophagus. When acid flows from your stomach into your esophagus, it irritates your esophagus, causing pain or discomfort. Common signs and symptoms associated with GERD include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, stomach pain, dry cough, sore throat, regurgitation of food and the sensation of a lump in your throat. Certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing GERD, including obesity, pregnancy, smoking, hiatal hernia, asthma, diabetes, gastroparesis or delayed stomach emptying and certain medical conditions. The NIDDK notes certain lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, avoiding foods that make your symptoms worse and eating smaller meals, may decrease your GERD-related symptoms.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.