A bubbling feeling in chest regions can send panic signals of a possible heart attack or other serious health condition racing. It may present as a feeling of discomfort with tiny bubbles popping or moving around the area, or perhaps as a rippling of air sensation.
It may seem to rise from the abdomen and radiate through the chest cavity. This sensation may be caused by a mild case of gas or could be the result of a collapsed lung. Before you imagine the worst-case scenario, learn the various explanations of bubbling in chest to see if your situation is cause for concern.
Bubbling Feeling in Chest Causes
The chest bubbles you may feel can be caused by the chronic disease known as asthma. With this, your airway passages narrow due to inflammation and excessive mucus production. Bubbling in chest is one of the milder symptoms of asthma as breathing becomes shallow and difficult during an asthma attack. In addition to the bubble sensation, you may experience shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. These can cause a disturbance to daily activities and can become life-threatening attacks.
2. Chronic Bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis refers to inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. These transport air to and from your lungs. As the air is restricted, a bubbling sensation may occur along with the trademark persistent cough with mucus. This form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, is irreversible but treatable.
Bubbling and gurgling sensations and noises from the chest and abdomen regions may be the result of gastritis. This medical condition covers an array of abdominal ailments involving an inflamed stomach lining. Stress, infections, and thinning of the lining due to the aging process can cause gastritis disorders.
Other symptoms may include nausea, hiccups, pain, black stools, bloating, indigestion, upset stomach, and loss of appetite. Any vomiting may produce dark brown, thick mucus or dried blood. A burning sensation may suddenly appear throughout the day and at bedtime.
4. Acid Reflux
A bubble feeling in chest left side or gurgling in upper abdomen may indicate the damaging condition of gastroesophageal reflux disease, known as GERD, or acid reflux. The bubbling is often accompanied by a burning or heartburn sensation. This sees the stomach acid enter the esophagus from regurgitation with the improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscular valve.
This happens as the valve does not completely close after food passes through to the stomach. Serious damage to the esophagus and throat region can occur over time.
Dyspepsia covers symptoms of an upset stomach and indigestion. The bubbling in chest may be an indicator of an issue with the small intestine, stomach, chest, and esophagus. The discomfort is often felt after eating and may be accompanied by nausea, bloating, belching, or a feeling of fullness. The bubble feeling may come and go over a few hours’ time period. Dyspepsia may be treated or prevented by avoiding consumption of spicy, fried, and fatty foods.
6. Chronic Cholecystitis
Gallbladder inflammation is the condition known as chronic cholecystitis. It can cause the bubbling sensation along with fever, vomiting, indigestion, and upper abdominal pain. The pain comes in waves and worsens with each breath as the irritated gallbladder comes in contact with the diaphragm.
This pain usually indicates gallstones are forming. Gallstones are crystal fragments of bile matter that can cause pain and pressure as they vary in tiny to larger sizes.
Our lungs are protected by a moist membrane called the pleura. When this becomes inflamed, a condition known as pleurisy can present a bubble sensation in the chest. This may be accompanied by breathing difficulty and severe chest pain that worsens with each breath. Pleurisy is often associated with pleural effusion.
8. Pleural Effusion
Commonly known as fluid in lungs, pleural effusion initially does not show symptoms until the fluid builds up and then gives a bubbling effect. Shortness of breath, chest pain, and a persisting cough also may be experienced. This condition is also referred to as “water on the lungs” as excess fluid gathers in the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs, causing the bubble feeling in chest, right side or left side.
9. Collapsed Lung
Bubbling in chest may be caused by the collapsing of a lung. As air enters between the wall of the chest cavity and the lung, it causes the lung to cave in. This is seen with trauma to the chest, a weak lung, or a fractured rib as a result of auto accidents or chest puncture wounds.
Severe chest pain, dry hacking cough, and a radiating pain from chest to shoulder or back may also accompany the bubbling feeling. Recognizing the signs is vital, since it is a life-threatening condition and also may lead to lung infection or lung cancer.
10. Atrial Fibrillation
Bubble sensations in the left side of the chest may be the result of a rapid irregular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation may be referred to as arrhythmia and can have other symptoms of weakness, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
These sporadic heartbeats occur when the upper two heart chambers, known as the atria, beat of out sync with the lower chambers, known as the ventricles. This can lead to blood clots that can cause an obstruction of oxygen supply to the brain and other organs, including the heart.
Other Causes of Bubbling Feeling in Chest
A bubbling feeling in chest may be experienced with psychological cases of panic attacks, stress, and anxiety. Other minor to serious health conditions can be inflamed ribs, precordial catch syndrome, an acute heart attack, or angina, which presents chest pain stimulated by heart disease. The condition pericarditis gives a bubbling effect and occurs when the heart’s protective sac become inflamed. Inflammation of the heart muscle, myocarditis, also can present with a gurgling or bubbling sensation.
Bubbling feeling in chest can suddenly appear and may create a terrifying mental image of a number of health conditions. This symptom may feel like tiny bubbles moving or popping within the chest region or a gurgling in the upper abdominal cavity.
Most times, a bubbling or gurgling sensation can occur with gas after meals or with a minor infection within the stomach lining. It can also be a sign of a more serious condition that requires immediate medical attention such as a collapsed lung or an acute heart attack.
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- Chest Infection: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments
- Chest Pain on Right Side: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention
“What Causes Bubbling Feeling In Chest?” ePain Assist; https://www.epainassist.com/chest-pain/what-causes-bubbling-feeling-in-chest, last accessed August 1, 2017.
“Bubble Feeling in Chest Left Side,” enki Very Well; https://www.enkiverywell.com/bubble-feeling-in-chest-left-side.html, last accessed August 1, 2017.