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What causes tightness in rib cage and heartburn after hiatus hernia surgery?

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Posted on Thu, 19 May 2016
Question: I have tightness on both sides under my rib cage. Also heartburn and bitter taste. 4 years ago had hiatus hernia surgery. Was a double bleeding hernia. Help
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (44 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Do you have an all night pharmacy?

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX

I am sorry you are having these symptoms. If they are similar to what you had before, you can get over the counter Nexium (which is 20 mg) and take 2 of them (even though directions say to take one) and call your doctor tomorrow.

However, if the pain gets worse or is not like the symptoms you used to have, I don't want you and me to miss a subtle heart attack or heart ischemia. In women, sometimes symptoms of heart attack can just be a tightness and pressure.

But you have had this before, so I think it is safe to assume it is a stomach issue.

If you start passing stool that is black and tarry appearing or bright red blood, then do go to the ER right away.

For now, can you get to a 24 hour pharmacy? I know that some Walgreens have 24 hour service.

Are you otherwise feeling ok - no light headedness?

Are you on any new medications which may be causing the problem? Or ate something different such as acidic fruit, tomatoes, or drank alcohol?


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3135 Questions

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What causes tightness in rib cage and heartburn after hiatus hernia surgery?

Brief Answer: Do you have an all night pharmacy? Detailed Answer: Hello XXXXXXX I am sorry you are having these symptoms. If they are similar to what you had before, you can get over the counter Nexium (which is 20 mg) and take 2 of them (even though directions say to take one) and call your doctor tomorrow. However, if the pain gets worse or is not like the symptoms you used to have, I don't want you and me to miss a subtle heart attack or heart ischemia. In women, sometimes symptoms of heart attack can just be a tightness and pressure. But you have had this before, so I think it is safe to assume it is a stomach issue. If you start passing stool that is black and tarry appearing or bright red blood, then do go to the ER right away. For now, can you get to a 24 hour pharmacy? I know that some Walgreens have 24 hour service. Are you otherwise feeling ok - no light headedness? Are you on any new medications which may be causing the problem? Or ate something different such as acidic fruit, tomatoes, or drank alcohol?