Pain under the chest is experienced by various causes. Sometimes it is simply an effect due to hormonal changes or muscle problems. Only rarely is it a sign of gravity.
Pain under the chest, more precisely under the breasts, is a common symptom that can be caused by various causes. Some of them are normal processes of the organism that result in this discomfort. Other times, the cause is an important health condition.
Pain under the chest can take various forms. Sometimes it feels burning or the pain is diffuse and not very pronounced. It can also appear as very localized and intense pain. In the latter case, it is important to consult with the doctor as soon as possible, as it may be a sign of a serious problem.
It must be said that pain under the chest is more common in young women and in those who have already gone through menopause. Approximately 70% of women report having had such pain at some time, throughout their lives, but only 15% have required medical treatment. The main causes of this discomfort are those we tell you in this article.
Menstruation, hormonal changes, and pregnancy
Many women experience various discomforts before menstruation, including pain under the chest. Hypersensitivity in the breasts is due to the increase in estrogen and progesterone and is perfectly normal. The usual thing is that the pain disappears after ovulation.
The hormonal changes that occur during menopause also generate similar discomfort. Pain under the chest, or properly in the breasts, occurs both in premenopausal and in menopause and post-menopause.
It is very common for pregnant women, especially if they are new, to feel pain under the breast. This is due to breast growth, the baby’s position or changes in the body to accommodate the fetus. It can also be an effect of heartburn, reflux or gallbladder or liver problems.
Costochondritis causes pain under the chest
Costochondritis, also known as Tietze syndrome, is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the sternum with the ribs. Sometimes it is accompanied by arthritis in the upper back or neck, and this usually generates a kind of numbness in the chest.
It is common that in these cases the pain is also experienced under the breasts, giving the sensation that it is a gastralgia – pain in the breasts properly -, without being so. This disease is more common in women over 40 years.
Very big bust
The larger the breast, the greater the likelihood of pain under the chest. Very large breasts cause this discomfort and it is not uncommon that they also cause pain in the neck, back and shoulders.
In some cases, this leads to limitations arising from some physical activities. Sometimes stretch marks or skin irritations also appear in the area. Excessive breast size is only corrected definitively by surgery.
An inappropriate bra easily leads to pain under the breasts. One of the big mistakes is choosing a bra that doesn’t have the right fit. This should not compress the breasts and not leave enough space for it to rise or change position easily.
Sometimes the bras that come with metal rings at the base can also cause discomfort in some women. An inappropriate bra not only causes pain under the chest but can also cause back or shoulder pain. It is best to wear good quality garments, even if they cost a little more.
Other causes of pain under the chest
Many times, the pain under the chest is related to problems in the chest wall or ribs. This is true in women of all ages. Sometimes it is intercostal neuritis, which is an irritation or inflammation of the network of nerves between the ribs.
Also, the pain may be related to a muscle problem, caused by a sudden or sudden movement. It is what we commonly call ´ muscle pull ´.
It is also possible that the pain originates from other organs and is reflected in the chest wall. For example, diseases of the gallbladder and inflammation of the liver produce that effect, as well as infections in the lungs or heart problems.
Nor should any breast process, such as cysts or tumors, be ruled out. Hence the importance of consulting before the doubt to carry out the appropriate complementary tests and arrive at a diagnosis.
- Torres, LFP, Pavón-Jiménez, R., Sánchez, MR, Valderrama, JC, & Pardo, JAM (2002). Chest pain unit: one-year follow-up. Spanish Journal of Cardiology, 55 (10), 1021-1027.