Upper abdominal pain centered between the ribs, like where the food reaches the stomach.

by BJ

Causes of difficulty in swallowing

Causes of difficulty in swallowing

I am 60 years old, female, 228 lbs., I had my Gallbladder removed in 2012.

I seem to Belch a lot or feel like I have air trapped so I try to exercise or walk to make me belch, this has been going on for a couple of years now.

I have not had what I would call real pain but a feeling of swelling or like something is stuck or bent in between where the upper rib cage comes together. Not sick to my stomach or stomach pain.

I ate this morning & everything went down okay I think. I have been experiencing palpitations and a racing heart when I go to bed at night. Started 3 weeks ago when I got a Vitamin shot with B12 & other B vitamins then it seemed to slowly go away.

I got another shot 2 days ago when I went to the doctor for a ear infection where I prescribed Azithromycin = Z pack & my heart raced that night and last night, made me very uncomfortable, couldn't sleep.

And today I feel like I have swelling or something stuck there. Not anything I could call pain but more of a slight cramping sensation.

Scared to eat anything now. And really tired of going to the doctor, not for this but for blood work, fatty liver test was slightly high & had to have it rechecked, foot condition now healed, Vitamin shots that I requested because of my energy level being low, as above 2 days ago was my 4th shot about every three to four weeks & have not seemed to bother me until November on my 3rd & 4th shot.

Don't know if that has anything to do with it or maybe the Antibiotic for my ear? I would appreciate any ideas or advice as to what this might be.

Thank you.


Dear BJ,

Thank you for stopping by here at abdopain.com to share your concerns.

I can see that you are describing a discomfort or pain in your epigastric region - what you referred to as an "upper abdominal pain centered between the ribs, like where the food reaches the stomach".

This discomfort is associated with feeling of food getting stuck there. There is also associated belching that has been going on for a few years.

You are wondering if this has anything to do with your recently prescribed antibiotics.

I really do not think it is from the antibiotics.

Have you been suffering with symptoms of heartburn or indigestion? Have you experienced any recent unintended weight loss? What has your appetite been like?

I would rather you go back to see your doctor for reassessment and certainly for a soon endoscopy or camera test to take a look at your esophagus and stomach.

There are several conditions that could make you have difficulty with swallowing or feelings of food trapped in your lower gullet where the gullet meets the stomach. The most common of these are:
  • Pernicious anaemia or Vitamin B12 deficiency. You already have this condition but we do not know for sure how bad it is or if this is the only cause of your difficulty in swallowing
  • Schatzki ring - a narrow band of thickened tissue in the lower gullet that makes swallowing difficult
  • Esophageal Cancer (cancer of the esophagus or gullet) and
  • Achalasia or weakness in the muscles of the lower esophagus due to nerve damage or poor functioning nerves .

There is no way to tell which of these conditions is causing your symptoms.

Though your Vitamin B12 deficiency could cause difficulty in swallowing, at 60 years of age, I would strongly advice that you request to have an EGD ( Oesophagogastroduodenoscopy. done for you as soon as possible to exclude other potentially serious causes of difficulty in swallowing.

I hope this helps?

Please BJ, do not hesitate to contact us again, should you have any further questions.

Good Health To You!

Family Physician, Emergency Medicine Practitioner and WebMD, Abdopain.com.

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