8 Most Absolute Meanings of Pain Under the Left Breast

There can be many reasons behind the pain under the left breast. Sometimes this pain can be an alarm for an underlying health condition. Read this article to know more about the reasons and meanings of pain under the left breast.

The left side of our body is home to several important organs. For instance, we can take the example of the spleen, large intestine, pancreas, stomach, and heart are some organs which lie under or around the left breast bone.

So, when you feel pain under your left breast, there can be many reasons behind it. While some reasons can be simple, others can be quite serious and alarming.

This article will help you understand the meaning of pain under the left breast, the reasons behind it, the symptoms, and treatments.

What Does Pain Under Left Breast Mean?

Here are the six most absolute reasons for pain under the left breast.

1) Heart Attack

As we know, the heart is in the left and centre parts of our body, so pain under the left breast can sometimes indicate a heart condition. And, of course, when we feel the stabbing pain in this area, the very first reason coming to our mind would be a heart attack.

Pain Under the Left Breast
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Symptoms of Heart Attack

The following are the symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Fatigue
  • Uncomfortable feeling in the arm, jaw, and shoulder
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Strong Anxiety

Diagnosis of Heart Attack

During regular physical exams, your doctor should check for risk factors that can lead to heart attacks.

Your blood pressure and pulse will be checked if you’re experiencing heart attack symptoms in an emergency setting, and immediate treatment will be given. Your heart will be monitored, and you will undergo some tests, including blood tests, to determine whether you have a heart attack.

Treatment for Heart Attack

A heart attack causes more heart tissue to degenerate or die each minute. Blood circulation should be restored as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.

Your doctor may prescribe surgery. Angioplasty means using a balloon to clear a blocked coronary artery.

There is a possibility of placing a stent to keep the artery open. Avascular bypass surgery “bypasses” a narrowed artery by using a blood vessel from another body area.

Other than surgery, your doctor can also prescribe some medicines like:

  • Asprin
  • Thrombolytics
  • Pain-relieving medication for pain management
  • Statins
  • Antiplatelet agent

Other blood-thinning medicines like heparin can be given to prevent blood clots. Nitroglycerin can be used to treat sharp chest pain.

Prevention from Heart Attack

An adequate diet encourages a healthy weight and prevents high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Add food items to your diet which help control your blood pressure.

Likewise, healthy outcomes can be accomplished by exercising moderately to vigorously.

According to the American Heart Association, one should exercise for 30 minutes daily (5 days a week). This helps in keeping heart issues like heart attacks at bay.

Other Ways to Improve Heart Health 

Check out the following other ways to improve the heart health:

  • Keep your cholesterol in check
  • Quit smoking and avoid alcohol
  • Don’t stress over things too much
  • Regular medical check-ups are not be avoided
  • Aim for a healthy body weight
  • Exercise daily for 30 minutes

Pain under the left breast does not necessarily mean a heart attack, but it’s always good to be on the safer side.

2) Precordial Catch Syndrome

A person with precordial catch syndrome will experience chest pain or pain under the left breast when the nerves at the front of their chest are compressed.

No danger is associated with it, and it isn’t a medical emergency. Children and adolescents are most at risk for developing it.

There are usually only a few minutes of pain associated with precordial catch syndrome. This pain often occurs suddenly while you are resting. The pain usually occurs in the left nipple.

Symptoms of Precordial Catch Syndrome

  • Sharp stabbing pain/ sharp pain

The only symptom of precordial catch syndrome is sharp pain under the left breast, but in the worst scenarios, the person may have difficulty in breathing.

Diagnosis of Precordial Catch Syndrome

Whenever you or a child experiences unexpected chest pain, see a doctor immediately, even to rule out a heart or lung emergency.

In case the chest pain is followed by nausea, severe headache, or shortness of breath, then without missing a second, immediately call for help.

Treatment for Precordial Catch Syndrome

  • Precordial catch syndrome does not necessitate any special treatment. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen (Motrin).
  • Breathing slowly and gently may also help relieve pain. Even if a deep breath hurts for a moment, you may relieve the pain if you take a deep breath.
  • An incorrect posture may precipitate precordial catch syndrome (pain under the left breast), which may be prevented through a sitting-up workshop. You should get your child used to sitting and standing straighter with shoulders back if you notice them hunching over while sitting.

3) Costochondritis

Costochondritis is also called Costosternal syndrome. In some cases, swelling occurs along with the pain (Tietze syndrome).

Costochondritis typically attacks women after age 40 and affects the cartilage between the ribs and breastbone. This is pain under the left breast.

Besides abrasions to the rib cage, heavy lifting, infection, and arthritis are also contributing factors.

Symptoms of Costochondritis

  • When you lie down, the pain becomes worse
  • Physical activity leads to an increase in pain
  • Chest pain gets worse when there is pressure on the chest
  • Coughing or deep breathing worsens the pain

Diagnosis of Costochondritis

Costochondritis cannot be confirmed with a test. In this case, the doctor will most likely ask you a series of questions and run several tests to determine the cause of the problem.

If you have any abnormalities going on with your lungs, your doctor may want you to have an X-ray taken.

X-ray
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An X-ray of your chest should be normal if you have costochondritis. To make sure that your heart isn’t causing your chest pain, they may recommend an Electrocardiogram (ECG).

Costochondritis isn’t diagnosed with lab tests, but based on your health history, your doctor may perform some tests to determine if your chest pain is caused by something else, such as pneumonia or coronary heart disease.

Treatment for Costochondritis

Tests cannot confirm the presence of Costochondritis1. A doctor will most likely ask you several questions and perform several tests to determine whether the pain under the left breast is psychological or physical.

It is often necessary to eliminate other, more serious causes of Costochondritis before diagnosing the condition. You can be given immediate treatment if needed.

4) Pleurisy

The membrane lining the inside of the chest cavity and the walls of the lungs become irritated and inflamed in this condition. Influenza or bacterial pneumonia are typical causes of viral infections.

Pain under the left breast could be a symptom of lung disease affecting the left side.

Symptoms of Pleurisy

Some of the symptoms of Pleurisy are as follows:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or even breathing can cause severe chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
Pain Under the Left Breast
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Some other symptoms may include fever or cough.

Pleurisy (pain under the left breast/ chest pain) can also cause severe shoulder or back pain. This may happen because of the movement of your upper body.

Diagnosis of Pleurisy

To begin, your doctor will ask about your health history and perform a physical examination, including a stethoscope examination of your chest.

If you have Pleurisy, your doctor may recommend the following to determine its cause and treatment:

  • A blood test: If you have an infection, your doctor may order a blood test. Blood tests can also detect Autoimmune disorders, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, in which Pleurisy can be an early sign.
  • X-ray of the chest: Chest X-rays can determine whether the lungs are fully inflated or if there is air or fluid between the lungs and ribs.
  • Ultrasound: Using high-frequency sound waves, this imaging method produces detailed images of your organs. Your doctor may use ultrasound to assess whether the pain under the left breast is caused by pleural effusion.

Treatment for Pleurisy

The primary objective of the treatment of Pleurisy is to treat the cause of the illness. NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), are used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with Pleurisy. Your doctor may periodically prescribe your steroid medication.

Depending on the severity of the underlying disease, Pleurisy treatment will produce varying results. Normally, a full recovery is possible if the underlying condition that caused Pleurisy is treated early.

5) Heartburn

A person with heartburn feels a burning sensation in their chest or pain under the left breast, just behind their breastbone. The pain is usually worse after eating at night, lying down, or bending over.

People may experience occasional heartburn, which is not alarming. Usually, people can manage the discomfort of heartburn by changing their lifestyle and taking prescription-only medications.

An increased incidence of heartburn or a condition that interferes with your daily routine could be signs of a more serious problem that requires medical care.

Symptoms of Heartburn

the symptoms of heartburn are as follows:

  • Burning pain in the chest may occur at night and usually begins after eating.
  • You feel as though your mouth is bitter or acidic.
  • Pain becomes worse when lying down or bending over.

Diagnosis of Heartburn

Heartburn – a type of pain under the left breast, can be diagnosed by:

  • Endoscopy: An endoscopy, performed to examine your oesophagus, may involve taking a sample for analysis.
  • X-ray: A chest X-ray is used to observe the shape and condition of your stomach and oesophagus.
  • Esophageal Motility Test: The motion and pressure of your oesophagus are measured by Esophageal motility testing
  • Ambulatory Acid Probe Test: This test involves an ambulatory acid probe placed into your oesophagus and connected to a small computer that you wear around your waist or over your shoulder so that it can identify when the stomach acid backs up into your oesophagus and how long it backs up.

Treatment of Heartburn

Heartburn can be treated over the counter with several medications, including:

  • H2RAs: An H2RA acts faster than an antacid but may last longer. H2RAs act by blocking the H-2 receptors, which reduce stomach acid.
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors: Medications that slow down stomach acid production, such as Lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR) and Omeprazole (Nexium 24HR, Prilosec OTC).

If these medications don’t work for the pain under the left breast, you should contact your doctor and may need further testing.

6) Hiatal Hernia

Another reason for pain under the left breast can be a Hiatal Hernia. During a Hiatal Hernia, the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle between the two areas.

This condition is a Hiatus Hernia because it occurs in the muscle between the two areas, known as the hiatus.

Pain Under the Left Breast
Photo by Karolina Grabowska, Pexels. Copyright 2022.

Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernias can be symptomless. Other symptoms include:

  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Burping
  • Bloating
  • Breathlessness
  • Your stomach’s contents backflow into your mouth
  • Poop and gas are not passing
  • You feel severe abdominal pain or severe chest pain
  • Consistent abdominal discomfort

These symptoms show strangulated hernias or obstructions, which can be life-threatening.

Diagnosis of Hiatal Hernia

The following tests may diagnose Hiatal hernias:

  • Esophageal Manometry: This procedure means pressure study, in simple terms. A different tube is inserted into your oesophagus to measure how it feels when you swallow.
  • pH Test: Acid levels in the oesophagus are measured by this test.
  • Barium Swallow: A doctor can see your stomach and oesophagus more clearly after you drink a liquid that appears on an X-ray.
  • Endoscopy: During an endoscopy, a thin, long tube called an endoscope is passed down your throat. The endoscope has a camera attached, enabling you to see inside your oesophagus and stomach.

Treatment of Hiatal Hernia

Normally, Hiatal hernias do not cause symptoms and do not need treatment. However, if you have acid reflux, your doctor might suggest medications such as:

  • You can make your stomach less acidic by taking a proton pump inhibitor or blocking the H-2 receptors.
  • It helps make your oesophagal sphincter- the muscle that prevents stomach acid from backing up into your oesophagus- stronger. It helps your stomach empty and works the muscles in your oesophagus.
  • Weakening your stomach acid with antacids.

7) Chest Injuries

Another common reason behind the pain under the left breast can be chest injuries. You can break or crack a rib or bruise the chest after any blow to the chest, whether you fall, get into a car accident, or play sports.

There can be serious complications if it occurs on the left side of the body. A broken rib, for example, might puncture the liver or spleen.

Symptoms of Chest Injuries

The following are the symptoms of chest injuries:

  • Twisting causes pain
  • The area where the injury has occurred is tender
  • Sharp stabbing pain while deep breathing

Treatment of Chest Injuries

The doctor can prescribe painkillers for pain relief medicines.

8) Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can be one of the reasons behind pain under the left breast and your discomfort.

Inflammation of the pancreas is called Pancreatitis. Behind the stomach in the upper abdomen, the pancreas sits as a long, flat gland.

The pancreas produces enzymes2 that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate your body’s metabolism of glucose (sugar).

The sudden appearance of symptoms and the long duration characterize acute pancreatitis. Pancreatitis may be chronic and occurs over an extended period.

Pain Under the Left Breast
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Symptoms of Pancreatitis

Symptoms of mild pancreatitis are usually treated with medicine, but the condition can advance to a life-threatening condition if left untreated.

You may experience different signs and symptoms depending on the type of pancreatitis you have.

The following symptoms characterize pancreatitis:

  • Radiating back pain from your abdomen
  • Rapid pulses
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • An abdomen that is tender to the touch
  • Nausea

There are several symptoms associated with chronic pancreatitis, including:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Stomach problems with oily, stinky stools
  • After eating, you feel abdominal pain worse
  • Family history of pancreas disorder

Diagnosis of Pancreatitis

The doctor checks your blood pressure, body temperature, and pulse for signs of acute pancreatitis by pressing on the belly area to see if it is tender.

In addition to X-rays, imaging tests such as CT scans and MRIs 3may be performed to determine the presence of calcifications in the pancreas.

If the pancreas no longer produces enough enzymes to process fat, your doctor will take blood samples and check your stool for excess fat.

The following tests can also be performed:

  • Pancreatic, and your doctor can view bile ducts via an endoscopic procedure known as ERCP.
  • Check whether your pancreas produces enough digestive enzymes by performing a pancreatic function test.
  • In a Biopsy, your doctor removes a piece of tissue from your pancreas to be examined by a needle.
  • MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound; tests create images of your pancreas to determine the extent of inflammation, determine if bile ducts are clogged, if there are gallstones, and look for complications like cysts4.
  • In some cases, blood and poop testing may be ordered as confirmation of the diagnosis.
  • In addition to the glucose tolerance test, the doctor may do an insulin production test to check for damage to the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.

Treatment of Pancreatitis

You may receive strong pain medications if you suffer an attack of acute pancreatitis (a type of pain under the left breast).

In the event of a prolonged attack, you may be fed or hydrated intravenously (through a vein), and your stomach may be drained with a tube placed through your nose.

You’ll likely need to remain in the hospital for a while, where the following services may be provided:

  1. You may need to fast or eat a low-fat diet to help your pancreas rest. If this is necessary, you will receive nutrition through a feeding tube.
  2. Through a needle, intravenous fluids are given. Antibiotics can be given in case your pancreas is infected. Painkillers can also be prescribed to control the pain.
  3. If you have chronic pancreatitis, your doctor will focus on treating pain, monitoring for complications affecting digestion, and guarding against addiction to prescription painkillers.
  4. An enzyme replacement therapy 5may restore the digestive tract’s ability to digest nutrients; it will probably decrease the frequency of fresh attacks.

Among the medicines you may need:

  • Insulin to treat diabetes
  • Painkillers
  • Pancreatic enzymes help your body get enough nutrients from food
  • Several types of anaesthetics can be injected into the nerves near the spine to relieve the pain.

The last resort if medications and nerve blocks cannot relieve the pain would be surgical removal of the damaged pancreatic tissue.

Key Takeaways

There can be many reasons behind the pain under the left breast, some of which are already listed above. Although chest pain can be completely harmless, it can also signify something more serious.

You can usually get rid of your pain with a little rest. Still, your doctor needs to be consulted if: you have an injury to your chest, you have unusual chest pain, you can’t seem to get rid of the pain despite resting, you’re feeling ill, you can’t breathe, or you’re sweating excessively.

When an organ such as the heart is near pain, it can be frightening. Getting assessed by a professional is never a bad idea, even if it’s unlikely that it’s a heart attack. Medication or lifestyle changes can often improve the conditions that may cause chest pain.

It’s a good idea to consult a doctor if your chest pains are frequent and come and go or if you have chest pains that go away quickly but you are still concerned. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you think you need one. It’s always wise to be safe!

Read more from us here.

FAQs

1. Can anxiety cause chest pain on the left side?

Ans. Normally when we suffer anxiety attacks we feel tightening pressure in our chest, if you have been experiencing attacks more than usual then chances are that you might be feeling chest pain on the left side of your chest. The sensation is of stabbing sharp pain. This might also lead to shortness of breath.

2. Can gas cause left-side chest pain?

Ans. Yes, gas can cause left-side chest pain.

3. How do I confirm heart pain?

Ans. If you are experiencing pain in the centre of the left side of your chest, then it can be confirmed that you are going through heart pain.

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  1. Mott, Timothy, Gregory Jones, and Kimberly Roman. “Costochondritis: rapid evidence review.” American Family Physician 104.1 (2021): 73-78. ↩︎
  2. Chen, Kai, and Frances H. Arnold. “Engineering new catalytic activities in enzymes.” Nature Catalysis 3.3 (2020): 203-213. ↩︎
  3. Wald, Lawrence L., et al. “Low‐cost and portable MRI.” Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 52.3 (2020): 686-696. ↩︎
  4. Santosh, Arvind Babu Rajendra. “Odontogenic cysts.” Dental clinics 64.1 (2020): 105-119. ↩︎
  5. Amado, Defne A., and Beverly L. Davidson. “Gene therapy for ALS: A review.” Molecular Therapy 29.12 (2021): 3345-3358. ↩︎

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