Alcohol, coffee, and soda are the most common drinks causing chest pain.
Those who have heart issues, acid reflux, or pancreatitis are more at risk, but even healthy people can experience chest pain after drinking, especially when drinking too much.
Chest pain after drinking sugary drinks
Common causes of experiencing chest pain after sugary drinks:
- heart problems
- gas, bloating
- acid reflux
A high intake of sugary drinks might cause chest problems and pains that might even escalate into heart issues such as heart attacks, heart palpitations, and angina.
The excess sugar in the system might digest poorly or not even go through digestion altogether. The fermentation of the indigested sugar creates gas in the stomach that later rises in the abdomen, causing chest pains.
If not passed out, the gas can cause abdominal pain, chest pain, or stomach cramps even in healthy people.
The gas increases the pressure in the stomach, which might trigger acid reflux, i.e. stomach acids flow up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation around the middle of the chest.
Sugary drinks can also cause diabetes.
If you want to limit your sugar intake, these are the drinks to avoid:
- Soda: Fizzy drinks contain a lot of added sugar, these drinks should be the first on the list of drinks to avoid.
- Fruit juices: Many people think they are healthy, but they also contain a lot of sugar. Try eating fruits in their raw form – more fiber, less sugar.
Chest pain after drinking alcohol
Chest pain after drinking alcohol can be explained in numerous ways. In most cases, chest pain after alcohol intake should be taken seriously as it might be threatening to one’s health.
Common causes are:
- heart issues
- acid reflux
Long-term heavy drinkers should take symptoms like chest pain seriously, as it might indicate a chronic, potentially serious medical condition.
Alcohol abuse increases the risk of heart attack, anginal attacks or coronary artery spasm, or cardiomyopathy.
The inflammation of the pancreas is another condition that is associated with alcohol abuse.
Upper stomach pain, mostly in the left side, is the typical symptom of both acute and chronic pancreatitis. The pain can radiate into the chest, left shoulder, and arm.
The chest pain may be an indication of an underlying health issue that has just been triggered by the alcohol intake, whether it happens a day or two after drinking.
Unlike heart problems or pancreatitis, acid reflux can affect casual drinkers too.
Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle acts as a one-way valve, when the LES is tight, it prevents stomach acids from seeping back up into the food pipe, causing irritation and a burning sensation around the center of the chest (heartburn).
When the LES is relaxed by the alcohol, such acidic flowback is more likely.
Watch this short video to learn more about why you should stay away from alcohol if you are prone to acid reflux.
Another cause of chest pain after drinking may be due to a lack of electrolytes that are lost when one urinates after or during binge drinking.
These electrolytes usually are potassium, sodium, and calcium, and they aid in muscular health. Lack of these electrolytes might cause the muscles around the chest area to become sore and thus bring about chest pains, often called hangover chest pain.
Acetaldehyde is a toxic compound formed after alcohol is broken down in the body. If acetaldehyde levels hike, it might also cause chests issues.
After a night of binge drinking, the heart of the drinker might experience distortion in the heartbeat rhythm. This distortion may cause chest pains, and this might be connected to a disease called atrial fibrillation.
However, this condition might also happen to first-time drinkers or those that have formed a habit of drinking.
The symptoms related to atrial fibrillation may include chest aches, breathing problems, weakness, rapid heart rate, risk of stroke, and other heart-related issues.
Most people who experience chest pains after drinking, specifically binge drinking, have to be rushed to the ER.
Alcohol cardiomyopathy is a condition whereby chest pains are caused by the intake of alcohol when the heart is forced to expand. The muscles around it also thicken, and the blood vessels become smaller and weaker.
Chest pains after drinking coffee
Most people have coffee in their daily routine. Caffeine in moderation has desirable effects such as alertness which is why most people love it.
However, caffeine also has adverse effects when abused or taken in high amounts, while chest pain is unlikely, it is not impossible.
Despite the common belief, a moderate amount of coffee should not cause heart issues, actually, it might be beneficial.
Three possible causes of coffee triggered chest pain:
- acid reflux
- too much caffeine
- caffeine intolerance or allergy
Acid reflux seems to be a common cause of chest pain after drinking coffee. Watch this video about the relationship between coffee and heartburn:
Just like alcohol, coffee also seems to relax the LES, making reflux episodes more likely.
Drinking the coffee with full-fat cow milk and sugar further increases the risk.
Too much caffeine
The maximum daily recommended caffeine intake is around 400mg. More than that can cause symptoms, like abdominal or chest pain, fast heart rate, acid reflux, etc.
About four small cups or two energy drinks can contain 400mg caffeine. A single big Starbucks coffee might also contain 350-400mg of caffeine.
Energy drinks can contain a lot of caffeine, watch out for that if you regularly consume such drinks. Certain teas, like black or green tea, also contain caffeine.
Caffeine intolerance or allergy
Even though it’s not common, some people can be allergic or intolerant to caffeine.
Allergy is an incorrect immune system response with potentially severe symptoms, intolerance is a digestive issue with unpleasant, but less severe consequences.
Itching, hives, swelling of the lips, mouths, tongue are typical allergic reactions. Diarrhea, stomach pain can be a sign of intolerance.
Both conditions might cause chest pain, but it’s not a typical symptom.
Chest pain after drinking water
Drinking too much, too cold, or sparkling water can trigger chest pain.
Chest pain after water intake is rarely a serious medical condition and the pain should go away in a few minutes. However, if it does not, you should talk to your doctor.
Let’s see why water might cause chest pain:
- Too much: Those who are prone to acid reflux might have symptoms if their stomach is full and the digestive juices can seep up into the esophagus, irritating the lining of the food pipe and causing a burning sensation around the middle of the chest (heartburn).
- Too cold: A very common cause of chest and stomach pain after drinking water, especially when the body is hot – after an intense workout or because of a hot summer.
- Sparkling: Sparkling water can increase the pressure in the stomach, which might cause bloating or acid reflux episodes.
Common health issues associated with chest pain and drinking water:
- Acid reflux: As mentioned above, too much or carbonated water can make it easier for the stomach acids to travel up the esophagus and cause symptoms.
- Esophageal spasms: Just like any muscle, the esophagus can also go into spasm. Squeezing pain in the chest (can feel like a heart issue), difficulty of swallowing, and regurgitation are typical symptoms. The pain should go away in a few minutes.
- Esophagitis: The inflammation of the esophagus can also trigger pain around the center of the chest. Symptoms are similar to spasms, the only difference is that the pain can last longer.
Chest pain after drinking cold drinks
Chest pain after drinking a cold drink occurs when the esophagus gets spasms after being subjected to the cold drink.
The contractions bring about chest aches and sometimes even back pain.
Angina is a pain in the chest area caused when the arteries that supply blood to the heat constrict, reducing blood flow to the heart muscle. The constrictions happen when they are exposed to cold when you drink cold drinks.
Chest pain when drinking hot liquids
Chest pain after drinking hot drinks usually means problems with the esophagus.
It could be esophagitis, which is the inflammation of the tissues of the esophagus. This is usually caused by acid reflux, the back-flowing acids irritate the lining of the esophagus.
Another common reason is esophageal thermal injury. Besides chest pain, this condition can cause swallowing difficulties (dysphagia, odynophagia), and epigastric pain,
In severe cases, the esophageal thermal injury requires medical attention and taking prescribed medications.
According to this study, drinking hot tea can cause esophageal cancer. One more reason to let a very hot cool down a bit before consumption.
Chest pain after drinking too much
Drinking too much is not healthy for your overall health and welfare and especially not for the heart. It can bring forth a lot of complications and with it chest issues and pains.
Too much drinking weakens the heart muscle, which means the heart won’t function as it should, which is very dangerous to someone’s well-being.
Binge drinking also raises blood pressure which is very risky because it’s the number one start of getting a heart attack or even stroke. Regulate the amount of alcohol that you consume, and it would be better and safer to cut off alcohol altogether.
Whatever you choose to put into your body, make sure that it does you more good than harm. Some of the drinks we want to take either leisurely or because we are thirsty can have serious long-term effects on our bodies and well-being.
Water is always the best option and a good substitute over any other alternative. However, make sure to take it at the right temperature and not too cold as that could have adverse effects also.