Why does swallowing an air bubble hurt?

“You can’t marry a man you just met.”

I couldn’t agree more to Elsa as she sternly refused to give her blessing to her naïve sister Anna for wanting to wed a prince-charming-turned-villain Hans.

Frozen defies the cliché Disney love story plot: one where the princess and prince fall head over heels in instant love. In Anna’s case, she’s engaged after just a few hours of meeting, singing, and dancing at the party. Anna, who longed for love and attention for the longest time, thought Prince Hans was her best shot for fulfilling her childhood dream – getting married. She thought it was selfish for her older sister to disagree, and in her disappointment, provoked Elsa to get equally angry. As her emotions run high, Elsa unleashed her magical icy powers, leaving Arendelle blanketed in frozen snow. In her fear of hurting people, the newly crowned queen ran off into the mountains and built her ice castle, alone and free.

Anna left her kingdom to the charge of her fiancé Prince Hans as she followed her runaway sister. She returned only to find out that Hans betrayed her. Elsa deserves to be applauded as was right all along, and Anna can’t marry a man she just met.  It is but rational to not rush on love and marriage.

Rushing into things often results in pain and troubles. Rushing into a relationship can cause a bad breakup. You can’t go from zero to 60 without someone getting hurt. Over-speeding means more injuries and road accidents. Saving up for a year and suddenly splurging on a luxury bag can distress your budget.  Jumping into conclusions can wound friendships.

But mind you, rushing to finish your breakfast on a manic Monday can also give you pain. When we rush over our meal, we often take the second bite before the first one is thoroughly chewed or swallowed. What causes this awry feeling in our chest? Why does it hurt?

We swallow air while we do our usual activities, like eating, talking, and laughing.  Naturally, we swallow about 2 quarts (about 64 fluid ounces) of air a day while eating and drinking, and burp out about half of that. The rest of the air, we take travels through the small intestine and out of the rectum as flatulence. (click here for more details)

Like the carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks, the air we swallow when we eat or drink can be trapped in the digestive system.  Swallowing up too much air can cause a buildup of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to gas pain in the abdomen or chest. (click here for more details)

Gas pain in the chest is usually not a cause for concern while we do our normal routine like eating. However, there are other causes of chest pain that we need to pay attention to, as chest pain is usually hard to differentiate from a heart attack.

The possible causes of gas pain in the chest include heartburn, food intolerance, artificial sweeteners, food poisoning, excess carbonation, digestive conditions, too much fiber, or gallbladder or biliary tree diseases.

It is necessary to diagnose persistent gas pain in the chest to avoid serious complications. Doctors usually recommend an electrocardiogram (ECG) to look for heart problems. Once heart concerns are ruled out, other tests may be prescribed to identify the possible causes of chest pain. Tests can include blood or skin test, test for the chronic inflammatory disease (Crohn’s disease), upper GI endoscopy, abdominal ultrasound, or CT scan.

There are home remedies that may help to ease the pain of too much gas in the chest. For one, drinking plenty of liquids can help remove excess gas through the digestive system. Drinking non-carbonated beverages, warm water, or herbal teas may also avoid extra gas intake and ease the pain and discomfort.  Eating ginger or drinking ginger tea is another must-try home remedy for chest pain. Ginger root is a traditional medicine that has been proven to help with digestive problems.  If the exact cause of gas pain in the chest is not known yet, it may be best to avoid any possible triggers like carbonated drinks, milk and other dairy products, and gluten. And lastly, exercise may help gas to move through the digestive system and be eliminated.