Sitting down to enjoy a meal can be ruined if you develop pain under your ribs. Discomfort, burning and pain under your ribs is a common sign of various conditions, such as indigestion, heartburn, a peptic ulcer and a severe allergic reaction. Pain under the ribs that occurs on occasion is most likely the result of indigestion or heartburn. If you experience pain every time you eat, you may have a peptic ulcer. Severe pain that forms when you eat specific foods, along with other symptoms, may be a sign of anaphylaxis, an extreme allergic reaction.
Indigestion is commonly confused with heartburn, but they are two different conditions. It's common that you may experience both conditions at the same time, thus confusing the two conditions as the same. Indigestion is the feeling of fullness during a meal that can cause pain between the chest bone and the navel and a burning sensation in the chest area, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Indigestion may also cause increased belching, bloating, gas and an upset stomach.
Heartburn causes a burning sensation in your chest and the back of your neck after eating. This condition is the result of food mixed with stomach acids returning back into your esophagus shortly after eating. Your sphincter is the muscle that allows food into your esophagus and then closes to keep stomach fluid from entering your throat. Heartburn occurs when the sphincter malfunctions, commonly from overeating, eating spicy foods or being overweight. The pain is commonly made worse when you lie down on your back or by bending over. MayoClinic.com states that occasional heartburn is treated with over-the-counter antacids that help to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.
If you experience pain under your ribs every time you eat, you may have a peptic ulcer. While some people find relief from ulcer-related symptoms from eating, others find that consuming food can aggravate their symptoms. A peptic ulcer is an open wound that forms in your esophagus, stomach or the opening of your small intestines. Consuming foods and beverages can irritate the open sore, leading to pain in your chest. Most ulcers are treated with antibiotics because they are caused by a bacterial infection, notes FamilyDoctor.org.
If you develop pain under your ribs, along with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, hives, skin rashes, facial inflammation, an increased heart rate and a drop in blood pressure, you may be experiencing anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. This condition will require emergency medical attention and an injection of epinephrine.