Is it normal for my left breast to hurt? Explore more on causes of that sharp pain in breast that comes and goes, symptoms and best remedy.
A left breast pain can be a condition that originates from the underlying tissues of the breast or from the organs of the body like digestive system, heart or respiratory system. For example, when you suffer from a minor illness like excess gas in the digestive system you may experience the problem by having pains in your left breast.
Furthermore, a serious condition like heart attack is also associated with these kinds of pains in the left breast. Therefore, it is greatly important to know what is causing you pain in your left breast so that you can strike the exact treatment that will offer relief.
A sharp, stabbing pain in the left breast can range from a minor to a more serious condition. For example, pains that result from gastritis can be dull, throbbing pain, which may feel like something is gnawing your breast.
Usually, most chest pains can be somehow momentary and become sharp with a lot of discomfort. In addition, squeezing pains that appear as if something is pushing through your breast are usually heart-related and therefore don’t ignore them at any given point.
A condition whereby someone may experience pain that is focused either in the left or right, or even both breasts is common. According to research findings, at least 70% of women will go through this condition in their lifetime, a part from the normal changes that occur on their body during puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause.
During these periods, women may undergo several problems on their breasts such as breast lumps, soreness, pain, and change in sizes and shapes.
Pain in left breast can either be felt in the whole breast or just a small area on the breast. Also known as mastalgia or mastodynia, or mammalgia, pain in the breast is usually involved with a burning, dullness, tightness, soreness and swelling of left or right breast. In other cases, both of them may be affected.
Pain will go away without treatment in most cases. More so, its pattern is normally described as either cyclic or noncyclic. For cyclic pain, the patient may experience pains that comes and goes with regular intervals, more often with changes in hormonal levels in the body. Non-cyclic pain is usually a discomfort which is slightly intermittent, although prolonged over a given period of time.
Symptoms of pain in left breast
If you are a woman and it happens you experience some left breast pains few days to your periods, this should not cause worry as it is a normal issue. In other women, this pain may be severe and can stay for longer than anticipated. Usually, three to five days before you attend your periods are normally worse. For other women, the pain may last up to even two weeks before periods.
The pain in the left breast usually reduces as the periods starts. The severity of the pain usually varies from months to months in this case. Other symptoms for pain in the left breast may include:
- Your breast may feel more swollen and lumpy that its normal stat. this lumpiness is generalized and therefore does not result to a single definite formation of lump.
- When carrying out physical activities such as jogging or exercising can worsen the pain in left breast.
- Sleeping may be difficult due to increased pain at night.
What Causes Pain in the Left Breast?
There is no suggested reason why one breast will hurt more tat the other, however, the cause of pain in the left breast will ultimately cause breast pain in the right breast. In most cases, pain in the breast usually disappears on its own with no treatment. As we have said, major causes of pain in the breast are hormonal changes in levels mostly in women during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. Other causes may include the following:
- Breast injury
The whole of your breast is covered with a sensitive and elastic skin that offer protection to the nerves, connective tissues and blood vessels and lobes and ducts that produce breast milk. In case by bad luck you hurt your left breast causing injury to it, you may end up having bruises and pains that will persist until the skin and the underlying tissues are healed.
In some cases, when an injury to the breast heals, it may end up leaving you with a scar tissue, which can cause pain normally referred to as fat necrosis. Fat necrosis usually appears as a lump making it difficult to differentiate it from breast cancer.
- Breast surgery
After any breast surgery, may it be augmentation, or reduction, or reconstruction, both of your breasts will hurt as the incisions continue to heal with development of a scar. Moreover, with a scar tissue that is related to an injury, pain may come and go even long after your surgery.
- Infections and milk ducts conditions
A number of non-cancerous and painful conditions can occur inside your breast milk production system. For Example, an abscess can occur under your nipples or the areolas. Your milk ducts as well can become blocked and in the long run get infected, resulting to mastitis or ductal ectasia. Also, breast cysts and fibro- adenomas can grow to crowd the milk system or your connective tissues, resulting into aches and pain in left breast or both.
- Hormonal changes
Also, change in hormone levels can cause pain and tenderness in the breast. This may occur either during menstrual cycle or when you use contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy.
While change in hormonal levels in the body can cause pain in left breast or right breast of both, there are cases when one breast may be affected much more that the other. It is important for you to know that medical conditions such as hypothyroidism associated with low levels of thyroid hormones in the body, can also be connected to non-cancerous breast conditions that result in breast pains.
- Inflammation and lumps
In case you suspect pain in the left breast from inflammation or infections, take a step of visiting your doctor immediately. There might be a need to take antibiotics or any other prescribed drugs to help to clear the problem. Also, whenever you realize a lump or a bump on your breast, take it a quick precaution to run to your doctor for treatment.
- Breast cancer
As much as they say breast cancer is associated with a painless lump, you may develop a breast cancer that causes a very painful lump on either of the breasts. Breast cancer can show up with pain either in the beginning or even in later stages. That is why it is insisted to have any strange feeling in your breasts checked by your doctor. Cancer with pain in left breast can as well appear on the right breast in association with an irregular lump or mass.
To give an example, an inflammatory breast cancer is a type of cancer that form on the breast and it often start with some pain, redness and more other symptoms. In this type of cancer, many people who experience it may even fail to see a lump.
Non- breast related causes of pain in left breast
Other causes of pain in the breast may not be necessarily a condition in the breast itself but a problem with a given body system. The pain may appear so close in the left or right breast until you thing that it originate just in the breast. There are a number of non-breast related causes that are as follows:
This is usually a potential inflammation pain in the chest wall cartilage and also bones. If you happen to feel pain in breast that originate from the cartilage than costochondritis in the sternum or breast bone, this can cause pain on the right or left side of the chest.
- Chest wall injury
Those people, who exercise, lift heavy loads or bend improperly may develop a pulled muscle in the chest wall. Normally, this may cause a rib fracture, or bring back pain which may as well feel just the same as pain in left breast.
- Muscle spasm
Below the breast is a chest wall muscles which can spasm when having anxiety and stress, leading to pain that may last for a few seconds or even a number of days. This pain from the chest wall muscles can develop on either left or right breast.
This condition can cause pain in any part of the body, and pain in left breast or right breast is not uncommon. Fibromyalgia can cause problems to muscles, joints, and the connective tissues, forming a generalized pain.
- Airway Causes
Bronchitis, also known as the painful inflammation of the airways may lead into lung pain. This type of pain may become worse when someone cough or try to strain when breathing, however, it can felt like a breast pain. Also, pneumonia can cause pain in chest since the lungs are located in the chest area underneath the breasts.
Clotting of blood in your legs which break off and move to the lungs, pulmonary emboli, may lead to pain that is feel like it originates from the breast.
- Heart Attack
If you are convinced that you’re left breast pains are symptoms that could be related to the heart, you have to seek medical attention without wasting time. Also, if you experience pain in left breast from heart attack seek medical attention immediately. Some of the symptoms associated with heart attack are chest pain or pressure. However there are a small percentage of people with heart attack that do not experience these symptoms.
- Esophageal Causes
The esophagus runs in the chest on the left breast and gastroesophageal reflux condition can occasionally appear as pain in left breast. Pains that originate from esophagus can feel more like a burning sensation, and also may be associated with an acidic taste in the mouth most of the time.
Also, gallbladder inflammation can also result into a pain in the right side of the chest that feels like is coming from the breast.
This is a condition where by women may develop a burning or tingling pain that appear as if it is in the skin or on the surface of the breast. Shingle is a skin condition which tends to affect people who are aged above 60 although it can occur to any person. With this condition, the pain in breast may precede the onset of a rash by some days.
Is it normal to have a Sharp Pain in Left Breast?
A sharp pain in either of your breasts can be cyclic or non-cyclic as we have discussed above. This kind of pain can either be described as soreness, or heaviness that originates from the armpit.
A sharp pain in breast is often more severe in women before they attend their menstrual cycle and may reduce as the period ends. Cyclical pains may occur in either of the breasts and may go away without intervention of any treatment.
However, a sharp pain from non- cyclical problems is common in women who are past 30 years in age. The pain may occur in one breast. It is usually described as a sharp, burning pain that occur in the area around the breast.
If it happens that the underlying cause of this type of pain is found, treating should be commenced to bring down the pain. Sharp pain in left breast can get worse with changes in the hormonal levels. Stress as well can facilitate breast pains.
Left Breast Pain no Lump
Most of the breast pains are not associated with lumps. We have talked about non-breast related pains. Nearly all of the conditions we have talked about in this part will occur without any trace of a bump.
Furthermore, there are cancerous conditions that will just cause pain in the breast tissues and may end up not showing a lump on the surface of the breast. In fact, having pain in left breast without a lump should be a cause of worry since this means that the suffering is from within.
In this case, having a doctor diagnose your condition can be helpful and if there is any infection or underlying disease, look for treatment as fast as possible. There are other breast pains that may result to a lump in later stages and some of these lumps are normally nothing to worry about as they heal without treatment.
Reasons for Pain in Left Breast and Armpit
Usually, your breast and the armpit or arm has a connection. Most of the nerves and tissues in the breast run through the armpit into the arm. Moreover, if your left breast is infected, you may develop a swollen lymph node in the left armpit. Therefore, pain resulting from either of the breast can as well be felt in the armpit or in the arm adjacent to the breast.
Some people may worry that pain in the breast can be a sign of cancer. However, pain itself is rarely a symptom of cancer. Breast pain that that affect your armpit can be minimized by wearing supportive bras while exercising, and during the day and night. Also, you can take over the counter painkillers if you are sure that what you are dealing with is not a serious problem.
Is Sharp Pain in Breast a Pregnancy Symptom?
During pregnancy, there is increased activities of hormones both estrogen and progesterone. This may cause a pregnant woman to experience pimples on the nipples or breasts and sharp shooting pains in association with other symptoms.
Also, during pregnancy, breasts have to enlarge so that they can offer enough space to produce and keep enough milk that will be fed to a child. During all these happenings, pain is felt in both of the breasts although the pain may fluctuate in either of the breasts since each breast conducts its activities separately.
If the pain in left breast is severe, you are advised to either use a warm compress or a cold compress to bring down the pain. You may also visit your health care provider for advice since pregnant women are not supposed to take any medication without their doctor’s knowledge.
Is Pain in Left Breast a sign of Cancer?
Cancer is the most feared disease when it comes to breast conditions. This is why there are many organizations that offer free mammogram checkups to make sure that no one is got by a surprise with breast cancer when it is on the worst stage.
Breast cancer can affect either left or right breast respectively. Although many researchers suggest that breast cancer is associated with a lump on breast that is irregular and painless, however, breast cancer can be painful as well with no lump.
Breast cancer can be treated successfully if diagnosed in its early stages. It is therefore advisable to regularly go for checkups to be on the safe side. However, breast cancer is generally treatable. Those who go through the process of treatment may describe it as a very painful process as well.
How to Treat Pain in Left Breast
Treatment for the pain in the breast may vary according to what is causing the pain. In most cases, breast pains usually heal without treatment and if medical care is required, it does not involve many complications. For the case of hormonal changes during menstrual periods or pregnancy, as the stage comes to an end, the patient goes back to her normal state.
If the pain in left breast is more serious, you may consider the following treatments. If you are pregnant consider visiting your doctor first before opting for any treatment that involves drugs.
- Support your breasts
In case you develop pain, it is advisable to wear a well supporting bra. Research has it that many women wear bras that are not their size and this may be the reason for pains in their breasts. It is very important that you wear a bra that fits you well- not much tight or too loose. While carrying out an exercise, wear sports bra. Also, wearing a soft bra at night may be the best as it may help you sleep comfortable.
- Take painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs
You can visit your chemist who is professionally trained to acquire some drugs that may help you lower the pain. Over- the- counter drugs have also proven to be successful when it comes to dealing with breast pains.
- Topical non-steroidal drugs
There are a number of such drugs that can also deal with your painful breast. You can acquire various topical NSAIDs or get them on prescription. Topical NSAIDs also have been proven to be helpful to relieve the pain from cyclical breast pain.
- Consider your medication
There are numerous drugs that affect the hormonal levels in the body which may make cyclical breast pain worse. It has not been suggested if changing the medication may help. However, sometimes it may be a good choice stopping or changing the medication to ascertain if it will help. You can have a discussion on this with your doctor.
- Medicines to block hormones
There are some medications that you can use to control the severity of hormonal activities. These kinds of medicines help by reducing the level, or preventing the effect of, hormones. However, such medications may as well be associated with side-effects.
Also, there are home remedies that can help in reducing pain in left breast or both breasts. For example, the use of cold or warm compress can bring down the seriousness of some pain that originate from injury to the breast. Also, generally massaging the breast can help to reduce pain as well. In case of a severe condition like cancer, it will be better if you run to your doctor so that the problem is brought under control immediately.
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