Chest Tightness and Pain From Alcohol: What It Can Mean

Whether a slight squeeze in your chest or a sharp stabbing sensation, chest tightness or pain can be scary. You may wonder if your drinking habits could cause this frightening side effect — the answer is yes.

Here's what you should know about chest pain or tightness after drinking alcohol and what you can do to ensure this symptom doesn't develop into something more serious.

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Why Does Alcohol Cause Chest Pain or Tightness?

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol harms the body in many ways. Perhaps you experience some chest tightness after a night of heavy drinking. Or, maybe you suspect that your alcohol use is contributing to some heart issues. While only a doctor can say for sure, alcohol misuse can have immediate and lasting physical effects. Here are some main reasons you may be experiencing chest pain after consuming alcohol:

  • Acid reflux: The most common cause of non-heart-related chest pain is acid reflux. Drinking alcohol is known to trigger acid reflux, and it can damage your body's lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle connects your esophagus to your stomach. When it weakens, stomach acid can splash up from the stomach to the esophagus, causing chest pain-like symptoms.
  • Alcohol-induced anxiety: Alcohol affects the levels of serotonin, adrenaline and other neurotransmitters in your brain. If you already struggle with stress or anxiety, this effect can worsen your symptoms. You may experience rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest tightness or pain after heavy drinking.
  • Organ stress: Drinking alcohol has temporary and long-lasting effects on your heart. Every time you drink, alcohol increases your heart rate and blood pressure, causing the organ to pump more blood throughout your body. While this side effect can be temporary, heavy drinking can lead to long-term symptoms like weakened heart muscles, irregular heartbeat or high blood pressure — possibly leading to chest pain or tightness.

What You Can Do About Chest Pain From Consuming Alcohol

If you are experiencing chest pain or tightness, you're probably looking for answers as to why. While there are multiple possibilities, your first step is to visit your health care provider. Only a medical professional can properly diagnose the chest pain or tightness you may be experiencing.

If your chest pain results from your alcohol consumption, the best thing you can do for your health and safety is to stop drinking.

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Don't let alcohol misuse take priority over your personal health. Treatment and therapy can help. Contact Diamond House Detox to begin your recovery and health journey today.

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