One of the most disturbing conditions for a woman to experience is breast pain. If the whole cycle of menstruation and period related cramps wasn't enough, we need to now say hello to a new type of complaint - breast pain. This condition is not just discomforting, but many women even think twice about going to the doctor out of sheer embarrassment. However, the fact is that breast pain, be it pain in the left or right breast area is a lot more common than you think. So, for all those people who are wondering 'what causes pain in my left breast area?', here is a list of various causes that can lead to this condition.
Causes and Treatment
Mastitis and Clogged Ducts
One of the common causes of pain in left breast area in lactating women is mastitis. Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast tissue that may be caused due to an infection, or a clogged milk duct, or may be brought on by some kind of an injury. This is usually seen in women who are breastfeeding, and the various mastitis symptoms include redness, swelling, and sharp pain in left breast when breathing. There may also be systemic symptoms, like fever and chills, malaise, and other symptoms that may even mimic the flu. The mastitis treatment will entail treating the underlying cause or infection in the body.
Ulcer and GI Related Conditions
There are many important structures that are present in the vicinity of the breast area. The area just under the left breast is what houses the stomach. Hence, if a person is suffering from pain under left breast, then this could be due to a stomach ulcer or even a heartburn. A stomach ulcer will typically cause pain after eating, especially, after eating a heavy meal that contained spicy food.
However, due to the proximity of the stomach to the left breast, it may be difficult for the woman to differentiate between pain in left breast/chest area and pain in the upper abdominal area. A few tests, like a CT scan or a barium swallow can help diagnose this condition correctly. Ulcer treatment will consist of taking antacids, and in cases of severe conditions, it may end up being an emergency condition requiring surgical intervention.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease and Breast Cancer
There are many different conditions that can lead to the formation of a painful lump in the breast. Not all breast cancers are malignant. There are many benign conditions that could lead to the formation of a lump in the breast. These include fibroid tumors, fibroadenomas, intraductal papillomas, etc. In fact, sometimes what may appear as a lump may in fact be a cyst.
All of these conditions can lead to sharp pain in left breast area. A malignant breast cancer can especially be diagnosed by identifying the early symptoms of breast cancer, like breast tenderness, pain, dimpling of skin, swollen and tender nipples, etc. The treatment will range from surgical removal of the lump to radiation and chemotherapy, depending on the type of breast cancer.
There are many other causes of pain in left breast area. Muscle pain, especially pectoral muscle pain may be wrongly interpreted as breast pain. However, at times, breast pain may even be physiological. This may occur due to hormonal changes in the body of a woman, like it may be one of the early pregnancy symptoms before a missed period. Some women may experience breast pain and breast tenderness before period. If a person experiences left breast pain in the morning, then it may be due to sleeping in an improper position. In such cases, there is no need for any kind of treatment, as the pain resolves on its own after a while.
This was all about the various causes and treatment options for pain in left breast region. This is a symptom that may or may not be indicative of a serious underlying disorder. Hence, it is best to not take any chances and instead go to the doctor, and get the condition diagnosed and treated at the earliest.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and it should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.