Chest pain after energy drinks

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What are the main ingredients in energy drinks?

Energy drinks are soft drinks that contain high amounts of caffeine, or any other stimulant, and sugar. The amount of sugar that these drinks contain is often above the recommended daily intake.

When combined with some medications – e.g. psychiatric medications, the list is quite long – caffeine might cause unwanted side effects.

Energy drinks also contain taurine, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and other derivatives. Taurine has a positive effect on mental functioning while riboflavin is a coenzyme for cellular respiration.

Energy drinks help in stimulating both physically and mentally. They are also known to increase the alertness of and attention, which makes it possible to work long hours without sleep.

It’s also good to keep in mind that some energy drinks contain an alcohol content of about 6% hence impairing the cognitive ability.

Why can you get heart pain from energy drinks?

Energy drinks are known for their stimulation purposes. However, they are negatively associated with heart-related problems.

Caffeine

The caffeine in energy drinks might raise the blood pressure and the heart rate of people suffering from any heart-related diseases. Heart palpitations and skipped beats are the most common symptoms.

Most of the energy drinks labels do not disclose the actual caffeine levels that they contain. Most energy drinks contain 300-400 milligrams of caffeine, which is pretty close to the FDA recommended level (400mg/day). With two energy drinks a day, you are almost surely consuming more caffeine than you should.

Alcohol

Some energy drinks contain alcohol, others are often mixed with alcohol.

Too much alcohol can have negative side effects such as raising blood pressure and heart rate. It also increases the possibility of dehydration in people because it has a diuretic effect.

Caffeine & alcohol

The main problem with mixing caffeine and alcohol is that it is easy to end up drinking too much alcohol:

When alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise. As a result, they may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-attributable harms.

(source)

There are studies about the increased risk of injury and drinking too much.

How do energy drinks cause chest pain?

Chest pain is a general pain along the front of the body between the neck and upper abdomen.

As discussed before, drinking too many energy drinks might cause heart issues. A common symptom of this is left side chest pain.

However, people often experience non-cardiac chest pain after drinking energy drinks. In most cases, the cause is acid reflux.

There is a muscle between the stomach and the food pipe called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When this muscle is relaxed, stomach acid can back up into the food pipe, irritating the lining of the esophagus and causing a burning sensation around the middle of the chest, called heartburn.

Eating or drinking too much, or drinking cold, carbonated drinks, like energy drinks, can put extra pressure on the LES, and it might open, allowing the stomach contents to seep into the esophagus.

On top of that, caffeine is known for having a relaxing effect on the LES, which makes the acid flow-back more likely. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine and can have chest pain after a cup of coffee.

Can energy drinks cause heartburn?

Since energy drinks might trigger acid reflux and heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux, yes, energy drinks can trigger heartburn, causing pain around the middle of the chest.

Sometimes the pain is so excruciating, that people tend to think they have a heart attack. Sharp chest pain after eating or drinking is never a good sign, when you are not sure what causes the pain, always call for medical help!

Stomach hurts after drinking energy drinks

Energy drinks when consumed in high amounts are likely to cause adverse health effects such as abdominal pain or stomach cramps.

In most cases, it’s either the high acidity or the high sugar content that triggers symptoms.

Possible reasons behind stomach pain after taking energy drinks:

  • gastritis
  • gallbladder problems
  • kidney problems
  • pancreatitis
  • stomach ulcers
  • etc.

The excess acid produced after drinking energy drinks might irritate the gut and the lining of the stomach which leads to stomach pain.

The high amounts of caffeine overwork the digestive tract. Therefore, too much intake of energy drinks can result in vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

The effects of caffeine such as inability to sleep well and an increase in anxiety worsen gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Energy drinks that are sweetened using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose lead to bloating and diarrhea for some people.

As you can see, several reasons might cause stomach pain after drinking energy drinks. If you don’t know what is causing you symptoms, it’s best to go to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis.

Sore throat after energy drinks

Sometimes energy drinks can cause a sore throat. Typical other symptoms for this condition are:

These are the common symptoms of a condition called silent reflux.

Silent reflux is like acid reflux, but in this case, stomach acids can flow all the way back up to the throat, causing symptoms there. Most silent reflux sufferers don’t experience heartburn, the typical symptom of acid reflux.

Final thoughts

Energy drinks might be good when there is a need to boost energy. However, they should be consumed with precautionary care and moderation.

Excessive consumption has been negatively associated with heart problems, chest pains, and stomach pains.

People who are sensitive to caffeine should avoid consuming energy drinks since they contain a high amount of caffeine.

Frequently asked questions

How to stop chest pain from an energy drink?

This really depends on what causes the chest pain.

If it is a heart attack, you should call for immediate medical help.

If it is acid reflux, small sips of water, a teaspoon of honey, or a short walk might help.

Can too many energy drinks cause stomach pain?

Yes. Even a few energy drinks can contain more caffeine and sugar than the recommended daily amount, which makes your digestive organs work hard.

Therefore energy drinks might trigger stomach pain even in completely healthy people. If you have an underlying digestive problem, like inflammation in the stomach, symptoms are more likely.

Do energy drinks make you bloated?

Because of the high sugar content, energy drinks can make you bloated. Even the “zero calories” ones, as they are sweetened using artificial sweeteners, which can cause bloating and diarrhea for certain people.