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Dr. Ravoof
Dr. Ravoof, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Experienced Physician in the field of Medicine and Surgery.
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Hi, I have been getting chest pain after drinking alcohol

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I have been getting chest pain after drinking alcohol for approx. 2 years and at other random times. I have cut back a lot and rarely drink now. It strangely comes on the morning after and rarely when I am actually drinking. It is clenching in nature and radiates to the back, it is in the middle left of my chest - where the heart is. I have had a full work up on heart (echo, ecg, stress) a year ago and bloods have all been within normal ranges.

All doctors say it is some sort of heartburn/gastritis brought on by alcohol or some foods that I have not been able to pinpoint. I have tried omeprazole proton pump for months but they have not made the problem any better. Activated charcoal also.

It has improved without drinking, but still comes on at strange times. It would also be nice to enjoy a drink at special occasions. The other interesting thing is that I have a constant furred white tongue and thought this may confirm a stomach problem? any ideas? thanks!

Thanks for your question.


Since you have been investigated by your doctors, most probably your symptoms are due to gastroesophageal reflux disease. Basically along with medications you need changes in your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes recommended are:

Elevating head of bed,

Avoid lying down soon after meals,

Avoid stooping, bending, and tight-fitting garments,

Losing weight,

Stop smoking and alcohol intake (if smoking).


You also need to avoid foods (such as spicy and fatty foods, citrus, chocolate, peppermint, onions) that make your symptoms worse. Avoiding coffee and tea or any other drink containing caffeine is also beneficial. Increased stress can make the symptoms worse. Hence meditation and relaxation techniques, in addition to counseling may also be beneficial.


I would also suggest a referral to a Gastrointestinal specialist who can confirm this diagnosis, since omeprazole is not beneficial in your case. You might require an endoscopic examination since you are having symptoms despite treatment. The white lesions could be due to GERD but could also be due to candidial infection which is a common fungal infection. Infectious esophagitis could also present with reflux symptoms and an endoscopic examination is beneficial. However infectious esophagitis is unlikely since you chest pain occur after drinking alcohol. The other investigation that I would recommend is an ultrasound scan of your abdomen to look for any gallbladder conditions which can present with chest pain, which may steady or intermittent, and may radiate to the back or the right shoulder.


Presently I would recommend that you take 40 mg of omeprazole once daily for 8 weeks, which is shown to be beneficial when this condition is refractory to other treatment.


Take care.



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