Constipation can cause chest pain. It’s important to know the difference between this and chest pain due to heart or blood vessel problems, which can occasionally be caused or worsened by constipation.

Constipation can sometimes be more than just an issue with your bowel movements. It could be the culprit behind chest pain and other heart issues.

Let’s explore the link between constipation and chest pain, when to get medical attention, ways to diagnose the underlying cause, and remedies for chest pain associated with constipation.

Constipation can cause chest pain for two reasons.

Pain from gas

Most commonly, chest pain from constipation is due to gas.

When you’re constipated, there’s typically a lot of gas in your intestines. This can create pressure in your abdomen, which may radiate upward and cause pain and discomfort in your chest area.

Read more about gas-related pain in the chest.

Pain from cardiovascular issues

Although it’s not common, constipation can cause cardiovascular issues or issues with your heart or blood vessels. According to a 2019 review of studies, this can happen for a couple of reasons.

First, constipation can cause changes to your gut microbiome (healthy bacteria and other microbes living in your gut). These changes can cause:

Second, straining during bowel movements, common during constipation, can cause your blood pressure to rise, which can lead to some of the following heart issues:

Shortness of breath rarely occurs with constipation. But occasionally, the discomfort and pressure in your abdomen due to constipation can lead to feelings of breathlessness or difficulty breathing. This sensation occurs because the diaphragm, the muscle responsible for breathing, may be affected by the pressure from the intestines.

Read more about chest pain caused by abdominal pressure.

If your chest pain or shortness of breath lasts longer than 1–2 days, it might indicate a more serious issue. Be sure to speak with a medical professional if you experience persistent chest pain or shortness of breath with constipation.

Medical emergency

Chest pain or shortness of breath can be early symptoms of a heart attack.

Call emergency medical services or have someone drive you to an emergency room if you experience some of the following symptoms of a heart attack:

To determine the underlying cause of your chest pain, a doctor or another medical professional will likely perform a thorough physical examination. They will also order diagnostic tests, such as:

These tests can help identify whether the chest pain is due to constipation, heart problems, or another medical condition.

If your chest pain is due to a gas buildup caused by constipation, you can take several steps to help with discomfort and improve bowel regularity. These include:

Read more about home remedies for constipation.

Let’s go over a few questions that people with chest pain from constipation frequently ask their doctors.

Can constipation cause a heart attack?

Constipation itself is not directly linked to heart attacks. However, straining during bowel movements may increase your blood pressure, which can increase the risk of a heart attack, especially if you have other cardiovascular issues. It’s important to monitor your heart health regularly to prevent or decrease the chance of a heart attack.

Can heart problems or chest pain cause constipation?

Heart problems or chest pain are not typical causes of constipation, although it can sometimes happen with certain types of heart disease.

More commonly, some medications used to treat heart conditions may have constipation as a side effect. These medications include calcium channel blockers and diuretics (water pills).

Be sure to speak with a medical professional if you have a cardiovascular condition and notice increased constipation.

What does trapped gas in your chest feel like?

Trapped gas in the chest area can cause tightness or sharp pain, sometimes described as a stabbing or burning sensation. This pain may worsen with movement or deep breathing. You can also experience:

If you experience chest pain or discomfort, especially if it’s severe or accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, or pain in arms, jaw, back, or neck, seek immediate medical attention.

By addressing constipation effectively through dietary and lifestyle changes, along with appropriate medical advice, you can relieve chest pain from constipation and promote overall digestive health.