Oesophageal Patients Association

I'm getting a burning pain in my chest, what is it?

I'm nearly four years post op., and for the last few weeks I've been getting an indigestion type pain. Not when I've eaten, but when I'm hungry and haven't eaten for some hours, like in the middle of the night. When I eat the pain goes away. I'm having no difficulty swallowing, and only occasional reflux, but anything different worries me. Is it worth telling the doctor?

11 Replies

Hi Patchworker

I'm just making a guess here but your stomach is now up in your chest region. maybe its your stomach telling you it's hungry or maybe because your stomach is empty it could be gastric juices giving you Reflux. Personally I would always mention indigestion type or chest pain to my doctor. I hope this is of some help.

Kind Regards



A burning pain in your chest is often heartburn - it is normally the effect of stomach acid, or bile, on the cells of the (remaining part of) your oesophagus. So it is worth going to see your doctor. Reflux is quite often 'silent' in that you do not necessarily feel it at the time. Possibly it might be bile (that is not combatted by omeprazole).

Go to your doctor and tell them about it. I think it would be worth keeping a food diary to check on whether it might be particular foods that cause it. I think it would be prudent to ask for an endoscopy to check things out properly. I do not know the exact details of your surgery, but it is feasible, in some cases, for reflux to continue to have an effect on your remaining oesophagus, and possibly to develop oesophagitis or Barrett's Oesophagus. The more cheerful news is that it is possible to treat it if it does occur notwithstanding that you have had this major surgery in the past. The best people to advise you will be the specialists who treated you before.

There are a fair number of other things that might be causing it as well, almost certainly less serious than what I have described above. So don't panic - but do have it checked out.


I've just got home from visiting my GP. She says I have all the typical symptoms of a duodenal ulcer. And she says duodenal ulcers are never malignant. I hope she's right. She's taken blood, and a poo sample. I have to go back in a week. In a way I'm relieved, but I still feel I'd like to know for sure.


I have similar symptoms so will be interested to learn your diagnosis in due course.

I wonder if any researches have considered what role Helicobacter P might play in the health of the remaining stomach tissues comprising the reconstructed pseudo-eosophagus ?

It is worth remembering that whilst Omeprazole and other PPI's reduce acid secretion they do nothing with the two other major irritants in Chyme (the partially digested food comprising reflux) .Many Doctors are coming round to the idea that Bile and the enzyme Protease are equally hazardous, but with different forms of action .


I am 5 years post op and I don't think this is too much to worry about. Its excess acid and I think we all mostly get this at some time. I presume you are taking Omeprazole which should help. I now have a couple of biscuits and a cup of tea about an hour before bed and take Gaviscon before bed and in the night as necessary. It seems to work for me.


Also try propping yourself up a bit higher at night, maybe an extra pillow? Avoid spicy food for a few days too.


A good many years ago, surgeons used to operate on stomach problems like this, but they no longer need to now because they can invariably be treated with medication. There are indeed other irritants in the gastric system apart from acid.

It is perfectly natural that every time you have a problem you start to think that the cancer might have come back; but there are lots of other things that can happen that have very straightforward treatments. It is a good thing to have the investigation because your digestive system is unusual compared with most people's, and you may therefore need to have a specialist (gastroenterologist?) look at you in due course.


Thank you everyone for your help, I'll let you know how I get on.

Isn't it strange that to ordinary people a duodenal ulcer is very serious, but to us it seems nothing much, and that diagnosis is a great relief.


I've had an endoscopy to see what was causing the burning pain in my chest, and I'm told they found red marks in my stomach (not my duodenum) and took biopsies. I get the results by post in two weeks. It's proving to be a very long two weeks, I'm finding it difficult to think about anything else.


I've got the results of my endoscopy at last. I'm lucky, it's just gastritis. I'm told to go on taking my esomeprazole.

I'm still getting the same discomfort, so I'm going to ask my GP about increasing the dose.

I'm four years post op. and I still panic each time something a little odd happens.


Thanks for the update .- glad it was nothing sinister . Hope your GP can help find a cure for the discomfort .


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