Pressure in the sternum.


Q: Hi, I am a 30 year old female, always thought to be in good health but about a week and a half ago I had bad pain in my upper abdominal area and also immense pressure in the solar plexus or sternum area along with burping and burning in my chest and throat also pain in my upper back and under my rib cage and feels if I can't take a deep breath. Also sleeping is difficult because of the pressure in my sternum area when lying down would be worse. I went to an urgent care physility after about 5 days of this pain so they did an EKG to make sure it wasn't my heart, a chest X-ray and blood test all were negative. I was told I probably have GERD and was prescribed Zantac, but I'm hesitant to take it because I wanna get to the root of this sudden problem because I cannot eat anything without the upper abdominal pain getting worse. I did some research and suspect I may have a hiatal hernia might be the cause if these painful symptoms so I statetd doing some manual exercises to get my stomach below my diaphragm which has helped relieve the pressure in my sternum but the other symptoms still prevail with bad upper adominal pain especially when I eat anything. I thought I should mention I had a sinus infection more than a month ago and was on strong antibiotics first amoxicillin then levoflaxcin and noticed heartburn symptoms when I took these. Well 2 weeks after being off these is when the terrible pain started. It's been 10 days like this and can't take it anymore especially since its interfering with taking care of my 3 year old and my marriage. So Im just wondering does it sound like I have a hiatal hernia? Do you think these antibiotics caused this and if so how can I get better? Thank you


A:   Hello.
Welcome to Ask The Doctor. We understand your concern.

This kind of pain is mostly due to acid reflux or gall bladder issues like stones in gall bladder called as Cholelithiasis. It can be hiatus hernia associated with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
So, for evaluation of Gall bladder issues you should get an Ultrasound Abdomen which will rule out any Cholelithiasis or Pancreatitis.
If your Ultrasound is normal, you would require treatment for Acid reflux.
But since you must already be taking treatment for reflux as your problem is chronic, so i would advise you to get Upper GI Endoscopy done, that would rule out the reflux and the hiatus hernia if any.
In acid reflux disease, a combination of Omeprazole and Domperidone helps greatly. You should take soft, bland diet as spicy food aggravates acidity. In case of acute pain, you can take anti flatulent syrup like Digene or Gelusil.
Share my opinion with your doctor.

I hope it helps.
Stay Healthy

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