Chest pain when hungry is not uncommon and can be a symptom of several health conditions. It's important to take any chest pain seriously, even if it does not feel like angina (chest pain caused by lack of blood flow to the heart). In this article, we'll examine some common causes of noncardiac chest pain when you're hungry.
When you haven't eaten for a long time, your body releases adrenaline, which is part of the "fight or flight" response. This chemical can narrow the arteries that supply blood to the heart, causing chest pain. This type of chest pain is known as angina.
Another cause of chest pain when you're hungry is a gastrointestinal condition such as gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD, where stomach fluid backs up into the esophagus. This can result in a burning sensation or acidic taste in the mouth and regurgitation of food out of the stomach into the throat. The pain is typically felt underneath or behind the sternum and might radiate to the shoulders, neck or arms.
In addition to these gastrointestinal conditions, other reasons for chest pain when you're hungry can include a gallbladder issue such as cholelithiasis or the formation of stones in the gallbladder called gallstones. Symptoms of gallbladder issues can include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and jaundice. These issues may also be accompanied by weight loss. In some cases, the onset of these symptoms is triggered by fatty foods and certain types of citrus fruits and juices.