Many conditions can cause a menthol or cooling sensation in the chest. These include heartburn, infection, anxiety, and sometimes, a heart problem.

A menthol feeling in the chest describes a cool or burning sensation anywhere in the chest. It can range from mild discomfort to sharp, severe pain. A variety of conditions can cause this feeling, along with other symptoms.

In this article, we explore conditions that can cause a menthol feeling in the chest, other accompanying symptoms, and management options.

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Possible causes of a menthol sensation in the chest may include the following conditions.

Acid reflux and GERD

Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) make up 50–60% of chest pain cases not related to the heart. These conditions can lead to heartburn or an unpleasant burning feeling in the chest.

The burning sensation occurs when stomach contents leak into the esophagus (food pipe). The digestive acid in the stomach irritates the lining of the esophagus, causing an unpleasant cool or burning sensation that begins in the upper stomach and may spread up into the throat.

Learn about the differences between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.


Esophagitis occurs when the lining of the esophagus becomes irritated, swollen, or inflamed. Acid reflux is the most common cause of esophagitis and can cause a menthol or burning sensation in the chest.

Peptic ulcer

Peptic ulcers, also called gastric ulcers or duodenal ulcers, are open sores in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract lining. While the most common symptom is burning pain in the abdomen, some people may also experience burning chest pain.

Lung infection

Lung infections, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and the common cold, can cause a burning menthol sensation in the chest.

Learn the symptoms of different lung infections.

Heart attack

Chest discomfort in the left side or center of the chest that causes sensations of uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain can be a symptom of a heart attack.

Additionally, angina may also cause a suffocating, burning feeling.

Learn how to recognize symptoms of a heart attack.

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage of a blood vessel in the lungs, is the most common serious cause of pleuritic chest pain. Pleuritic means caused by pleurisy, which is a type of tissue inflammation. When breathing, pleuritic chest pain feels sharp, intense, stabbing, or burning.

Learn about different types of pulmonary embolism.

Anxiety attack

Panic attacks or anxiety attacks share some symptoms with heart attacks, including stabbing, burning, or crushing chest pain and shortness of breath.

A 2020 study notes that the most common bodily symptoms that led people with anxiety and depression to go to the emergency department were pain and a burning feeling in the chest.

Learn about differentiating between a panic attack and heart attack.

Depending on the underlying cause, a menthol or burning feeling in the chest may occur alongside other symptoms.

If the pain is related to the GI tract, a person may also experience the following symptoms:

A burning chest sensation caused by cardiovascular issues may also cause:

A menthol feeling or cool sensation in the chest caused by a chest infection is often accompanied by:

Management of a menthol sensation in the chest depends on the cause.

A doctor may recommend people with acid reflux and GERD try over-the-counter and prescription medications such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors.

The following lifestyle changes may also help:

Read more at-home remedies for GERD.

Chest colds generally get better on their own. However, the following at-home remedies may help a person feel better:

  • honey and ginger to relieve a cough
  • lozenges
  • nasal drops or sprays to relieve a stuffy nose
  • a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • getting enough rest
  • pain relievers
  • cough medicines

Burning or cooling sensations in the chest can be a sign of a serious condition. A person should seek medical help immediately if they are experiencing any of the following emergency symptoms:

A cooling, burning, or menthol sensation in the chest can occur due to a variety of conditions. Some of these may not be a cause of concern, such as a chest infection or acid reflux. However, other possible causes, such as heart attack and pulmonary embolism, need urgent medical attention.

Depending on the underlying cause, lifestyle changes, OTC medications, and at-home remedies can help relieve symptoms.

It is important to note that if someone experiences unexplained chest pain or other concerning symptoms, they should seek immediate medical attention. A doctor can help diagnose the cause and recommend a treatment plan.