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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 31315
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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Im having serious pain at the base of my sternum, just above

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I'm having serious pain at the base of my sternum, just above my stomach. It's both sharp and achy. It's been about 45 minutes now and I'm worried. What could this be?

Hello Amber,

I am sorry about your significant pain.

Do you have nausea, vomiting, heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, gas, sweating, shortness of breath?
Is there pain when you move your upper back or shoulder?
Any significant past medical or surgical history?
Are you diabetic, have high blood pressure, are sedentary, stressed, over weight, smoker, drink alcohol regularly?
Is your cholesterol or lipid profile normal?

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Had a bit of nausea at the beginning, I was belching quite a bit early on. I have acid reflux and seen to be having a minor flare up tonight. I am overweight and my last blood panel showed no significant concerns in any category (2 yrs ago). I have borderline high blood pressure and I do not smoke or drink. I'm not sedentary given that my career has me on my feet all day (I'm a vet tech). I do have anxiety disorder and have been stressed lately. No pain when I move my back/shoulders. I'm also self diagnosed with fibromyalgia. No sweating but I did have shortness of breath earlier that made me light headed, however I feel that may have been brought on by panic. Did I miss anything?

Hello Amber,

Your description suggests that your symptoms are likely due to GERD or gastritis (or peptic ulcer). You may try following for the long term measures;

1) antacids; Maalox

2) acid blocker; Prilosec

3) loosing weight, if overweight for long term

4) avoiding alcohol, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate, and tomato based products

5) avoiding large meals. Eat 5 small meals in a day.

6) wait three hours after the meal before you sleep.

7) elevate head end of the bed by 8 inches.

For acid reflux (GERD), following also would be helpful;

A. Herbs;

1) Cranberry
2) Peppermint

B. Homeopathy

1) Nux Vomica
2) Pulsatilla

C. Nutrition and supplements;

1) Multivitamin; vitamins A, C, E, the B vitamins, and trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
2) Probiotic supplement
3) Omega 3 fatty acid
4) Avoid; cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.5) Also avoid; white breads, pastas, and especially sugar, red meats,
6) Eat lean meats, cold water fish, tofu, beans, olive oil

The other possibility of the diagnosis can be gall bladder stone. I do not think it to be heart or lung related or pancreatitis. But if the severe pain persists; it is mandatory to get an evaluation done by the doctor and an EKG may be done (just to categorically rule out heart related issue).

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

I would be happy to assist you further, if you need any more information.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. I've never experienced this pain before and I was afraid it was a heart issue. You've helped calm me a little.

You are very welcome, Amber.

It does not look like heart issue. But any upper abdominal pain if moderate to severe would warrant an examination by a doctor and may need investigative work up, as we discussed.

It is privilege assisting you.

Please rate (excellent / good) the answer, if you are satisfied by the interaction. Let me know if you have any further queries.


Best regards,

Dr. Arun Phophalia and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you

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