12 Possible Causes and Treatments of Pain under Left Breast

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Pain under left breast

Sharp pain under your left breast can be a symptom of a minor ailment or a life-threatening condition. It may be due to musculoskeletal pain, digestive gases, heartburn, a hiatal hernia, or gastritis.

The dull pain under left breast isn’t of a great concern. However, if you have a squeezing chest pain you should take it seriously as it may be a consequence of a serious underlying condition.

The type of pain under the breasts is often an indication of discomfort in the upper abdomen. This pain can be anything from sharp, stabbing pain to dull and throbbing all of which have different causes. Let’s discuss the common causes and treatments chest pain on left side under breast.


What Causes Pain under Your Left Breast?

Below are some mentioned causes of pain under left breast.

1. Muscle Soreness or Rib Injuries

Pain around the rib cage can occur as a result of overstretching the chest muscles or trauma to the rib cage which causes inflammation of the intercostal muscles between the ribs. The chest muscles beneath the breast are prone to spasm during high points of stress or anxiety.

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This is why during extremely stressful or anxious situations you may notice pain in the left side of your chest or rib cage. Rib or chest muscle injuries are hard to diagnose.

A strained muscle can inflame during high-stress periods, and the pain may last from few seconds to few days.

Pain under left breast causes

2. Pericarditis

The pericardium is the thin sac-like membrane which surrounds your heart. Pericarditis is the inflammation and irritation of this membrane which can cause pain under your left breast. Pericarditis can be acute or chronic, in which acute may last less than a few weeks, and chronic may last longer.

Symptoms of pericarditis include

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  • Heart palpitations
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Pain when breathing
  • Stabbing pain in the chest

Shooting pain under left breast can be a symptom of acute or chronic pericarditis. Chest pain can radiate into the left shoulder, neck, and can worsen upon lying down.

The best treatment for pericarditis is taking rest, over-the-counter painkillers, and avoiding strenuous activity.

3. Heartburn

Chest pain under left breast can be caused by heartburn. Heartburn is often caused by gastric movement restriction leading to shooting pain under left breast. This often occurs after eating a large meal or bending over.

4. Excessive Digestive Gas

Your stomach is located under the left side of your abdomen, which when filled with gas can cause pain under left breast due to gas build up. The gasses get trapped and triggered by nerve pain causing discomfort.

5. Stress

People often experience chest pain under high levels of stress due to inflamed nerves. Chest pain from stress is typically sharp and painful but is relieved rather quickly with relaxation. Other symptoms of stress include frequent colds, digestive issues, and insomnia.

6. Lung Problems

The membranous fluid-filled lining of the lungs, known as pleura, allows proper functioning of the lungs during breathing. It can get inflamed due to trauma, infection, or exposure to chemicals.

The pain may radiate from the lungs to the left side of the chest. Lung problems can sometimes cause dull pain under left breast.

7. Chest Injury

An accident, a fall, or blow to the chest can cause chest pain under left breast. The pain is usually sharp due to a fractured or sprained rib or muscle of the chest wall. There can be inflammation if the body is fighting to heal an injury and it may also cause pain in the left side of the chest.

8. Hernia

A hiatal hernia is a protrusion of the stomach through the esophageal opening in the diaphragm. This means bowel or stomach contents can travel inside the chest cavity and cause pain.

The most common symptoms of a hiatal hernia include heartburn, bloating, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

9. Cysts

Cysts occur in the body for many reasons including stress, diet, inflammation, and others. These can appear in the chest area but normally do not cause a great deal of pain.

They can, however, cause sporadic sharp pains as they can trigger the nervous system. It is important to get any lump or cyst evaluated by a medical professional.

10. Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be caused by infections caused due to consumption of contaminated water or food.

Often, gastritis is observed in cases of food poisoning and other food or water-related illnesses. Stomach inflammation affects the left side of the chest due, and can often cause gas pain under left breast.

Symptoms of gastritis include:

  • Chest pain
  • Stomach lining inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

11. Heart Conditions

Blocked arteries in the heart, known as a condition called angina, can cause a sharp pain under left breast which can radiate to left arm, jaw, neck, and shoulder.

12. Costochondritis

Costochondritis is the inflammation of the costal cartilage that joins the ribs to the sternum. It causes pain under left breast which escalates on coughing, sneezing, or deep inhalation.


Possible Treatments for Sharp Pain under Left Breast

With the variety of causes of sharp pain under left breast, there are even more treatment alternatives with some being more easily observed than others.

It is important to note that many causes of sharp pain in ribs under left breast can be healed without treatment. In some cases, treatment is required and even serious cases you should seek medical attention immediately.

1. Dietary Changes

Digestive problems are some of the most common causes of abnormal chest pain under left breast.

  • You should have small meals as large meals exert pressure on your digestive system.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar or acidic foods which could be causing inflammation of your stomach lining.
  • Avoid fast food, fatty food, carbs, and alcohol as these foods are known to cause pain under the left breast area. All of these foods cause excess gas, gastritis, and heartburn.

Lifestyle Changes

Stress and anxiety can have tremendous negative impacts on your health and well-being. We often don’t recognize how stress is affecting us until we come face to face with illness or conditions where we are obviously overworking our bodies.

  • Learn how to relax and calm yourself down after a long day.
  • Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practice can all be a great place to start.
  • A simple five-minute deep breathing session can do wonders for your blood circulation, calm your mind, and help relax your body.

Lifestyle changes often promote healthier eating habits as well and can have many other positive impacts on your life.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Pain in the left chest whether it is dull or sharp can be very frustrating. NSAID’s can be a quick and efficient way to handle the persistent shooting under left breast.

They will fight off inflammation and help ease your pain. If you feel it isn’t effective to see a doctor immediately.

Cyst Removal

A cyst is often a harmless lump that will eventually go away over a short period of time. If you suffer from a cyst which is persistent, growing, or causing severe pain, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

The cyst may be causing your sharp pain under left breast. Surgery may be required for cyst removal.


When to See a Doctor?

If the pain under your left breast is persistent despite the home remedies, you should see a doctor. The doctor can better evaluate the condition and suggest a treatment accordingly.

See a doctor if you are experiencing pain under left breast along with the following symptoms:

  • Pressure or tightness in the middle of your chest
  • Pain in your upper abdomen spreading to arms, jaw, or neck
  • Fever, chest pain, and coughing up green mucus
  • Lack of relief from the recommended treatments and home remedies
  • Severe, sudden upper or lower chest pain while resting

Sources:
Cucic, A., “Pain Under Left Breast”, Med Health Daily web site; https://www.medhealthdaily.com/pain-under-left-breast/, last accessed September 26, 2017.
Hills, J., “Pain Under Left Breast: Causes, Treatments, and When to See a Doctor”, Health and Natural World web site; http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/pain-under-left-breast/, last accessed September 26, 2017.
“What Causes Shooting Pain Below Left Breast?”MD Health web site; http://www.md-health.com/Sharp-Pain-Under-Left-Breast.html, last accessed September 26, 2017.
“What Causes Sharp Pains Under the Left Breast?” New Health Advisor web site; http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Sharp-Pain-Under-Left-Breast.html, last accessed September 26, 2017.

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Dr. Mark Williams, MD

Dr. Mark Williams is a leader in alternative and integrated medicines. He is a medical writer and reviewer at Daily Health Cures. He received his medical degree in 1988. Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Daily Health Cures editorial team. He is a natural health advisor...
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