What Does It Mean to Feel Pain Under the Left Breast?

By Amanda Lawrence |
|7 min read

The left part of your body houses a variety of crucial organs. Under the left breast, you will find the heart, stomach, pancreas, and spleen. When you're feeling any pain under the breast, it can have a range of reasons.

There can be a simple reason, or it can be a significant health issue. As the heart is positioned a little to the left in the upper part of the body, discomfort under the left breast can often suggest a heart issue. If it's a heart problem, the pain can last longer than a couple of minutes, and it can return after it fades.

What Are the Possible Causes of Pain Under the Left Breast?

Pain or discomfort in this area may be caused by the following conditions:

1. Cardiovascular Problems:

  • Heart attack

If the sharp pain under your left breast is indeed caused by a heart attack, you'll feel tightness in your chest or arms that can radiate to other parts of your body such as the neck, back, or jaw. You may also experience nausea and heartburn along with cold sweat, dizziness, and shortness of breath. However, one-third of people experiencing cardiac arrest will not experience pain.

Treatment: When a heart attack happens, you need to call your local emergency number immediately. Your physician will recommend treatment that can include surgery such as angioplasty. This procedure entails the use of a balloon to unblock an obstructed coronary artery. A coronary bypass involves taking a healthy capillary from a different area of your body and implanting it for an alternate route from the obstructed artery.

  • Angina

Angina happens when the heart muscle tissue doesn't get sufficient oxygen. As a result, you'll feel pain under your left breast. It can also be felt in the center of your breast. The pain can sometimes be described as fullness or squeezing, and there might also be a pain in your arms, back, or neck.

Treatment: As for the treatment, it will depend on the type of angina you're diagnosed with. For example, stable angina can be controlled by simply taking medications. However, unstable angina may require emergency treatment such as angioplasty or heart surgery bypass.

  • Pericarditis

In this medical condition, the pericardium, which is a membrane surrounding the external part of the heart, is inflamed. You'll feel pain if the inflamed membrane rubs against the heart. Its symptoms include stabbing pain which intensifies when you swallow, cough, or lie down. You may also experience heart palpitations, low-grade fever, and leg swelling, among other things.

Treatment: Treatments include pain relievers, drugs that reduce inflammation, and corticosteroids. If it's caused by bacteria, your physician may prescribe antibiotics. If you're diagnosed with pericarditis make sure to follow your treatment plan.

  • Precordial catch syndrome

This syndrome primarily occurs in young adults and older children. The pain from this condition begins when the nerves of the chest wall are irritated. Bad posture or injury to the chest can cause it. The pain is described as a stabbing pain that is generally short-lived. It typically happens when you're at rest, and every time you breathe in, the pain gets stronger.

Treatment: The pain under the left breast that is related to precordial catch syndrome might not require treatment. Alternatively, you may wish to take an OTC anti-inflammatory drug to ease the pain. Learning how to relax and improving posture can also help.

2. Digestive Problems

  • Gastritis

The stomach is situated in the upper left side of the body. It's protected by a lining that can become inflamed for several reasons, resulting in pain under your left breast area. Apart from pain and discomfort, you may also experience indigestion and abdominal fullness.

Treatment: The most common treatment for this condition is over-the-counter antacids, but your physician may also prescribe acid-reducing medications. If the cause of your gastritis is bacteria, you'll be given antibiotics. Make sure to avoid spicy and fatty foods, and eat small meals.

  • Pancreatitis

The pancreas is found behind your stomach on the left side of the body as well. If pain under the left breast is caused by inflammation of the pancreas, you'll experience symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat and fever. For chronic pancreatitis, you'll experience diarrhea, and your stool will be oily and pale.

Treatment: When seeking medical treatment for this condition, you'll most likely be given pain medication and anti-nausea drugs. Surgery may also help if you have gallstones which can also cause pancreatitis. To prevent or lower your risk of developing it, make sure to eat a healthy diet and avoid excessive alcohol and smoking.

  • Heartburn

Some patients may feel pain behind their left breast and assume they're having a heart attack, but it's usually not a heart attack if you don't feel numbness in any part of your body. Apart from pain, heartburn can also cause a sour taste in your mouth, and you may feel some stomach contents coming back up the throat.

Treatment: Antacids are the number one medication to help with the pain of heartburn. However, your doctor may also prescribe acid-blocking drugs. Since heartburn can be triggered by eating spicy or fatty foods and caffeine, make sure to change your eating habits.

3. What Are Some Other Causes of Pain under the Left Breast?

  • Pleurisy

This condition is an inflammation of the pleura which is a membrane that surrounds the lungs. Viral infection is one common cause of pleurisy. If it's your left lung that has pleurisy, you'll definitely feel pain on the left side of your body with chest pain that intensifies when you breathe. You'll also most likely experience shortness of breath and a dry cough.

Treatment: Before recommending a treatment, your physician will first need to diagnose the underlying cause. After that, your doctor may recommend pain relievers. You should also rest and apply a cold compress to your chest.

  • Spleen

If you have enlarged spleen or if this organ bursts, you'll experience pain under your left breast accompanied by anemia and feeling uncomfortable when eating.

Treatment: For the treatment of a burst spleen, emergency surgery is necessary. If it merely enlarged, certain medications can alleviate the pain or treat the enlargement. However, if the doctor can not diagnose the underlying cause, exploratory surgery might be needed for an enlarged spleen.

Home Remedies

Here are some tips to relieve pain under your left breast at home:

  • Diet

Dietary change is vital to relieving pain under your left breast, regardless of the cause. You should focus on consuming foods abundant in fiber and avoid carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and alcohol. You should also minimize your caffeine intake, make sure to get regular exercise, and plenty of sleep.

  • Hot and Cold Compresses

Warm compresses improve blood circulation, so that's a great thing to try if the pain is associated with cardiovascular problems. Cold compresses, on the other hand, offers a numbing effect and may also reduce swelling.

  • Learn Relaxation Techniques

Stress can cause a lot of things, including pain under the breast. To deal with stress properly, make sure to learn relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation. Getting a regular massage will also help in relieving pain and stress.


It is common to feel pain under the left breast because of the many vital organs found in that area. For that reason, the pain is not always caused by a heart attack. However, if the pain is associated with numbness and difficulty speaking, you may be having a heart attack, and you need to go to the nearest hospital to have the pain evaluated. Lifestyle modifications and some medications can improve your condition. But in some cases, surgery may be needed. To learn more about the causes of pain under the left breast, please watch this video:



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