Female Chest Pains on Left Side

Introduction 

The left side of the body is home to a number of important organs. Under the left side of the breastbone lies the heart, spleen, stomach, pancreas, and large intestine. Chest pains experienced on the left side, just above your breast, may be caused by a variety of conditions, each with its own set of potential causes. If you are experiencing other symptoms in addition to discomfort, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you have pain in your chest, which comes and goes, it is possible that you have angina, which is a symptom of heart disease.

Angina is brought on when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood. As a result of the pain, you may experience a sensation similar to that of pressure or squeezing in your chest. The pain on the left side may spread to your shoulders, neck, jaw, or back. The severity of this situation is comparable to that of a heart attack.

If you have been experiencing persistent pain on the left side of your chest, your doctor will want to rule out the possibility that you are having a heart attack.

Signs and symptoms of left chest pain in women

You might have a hard time isolating the specific cause of the pain you're experiencing. Because the nerves in your chest don't always tell you what's wrong, chest pain, in particular, can be difficult to pinpoint a specific cause. It is important to determine whether or not the chest pain is due to a problem with your heart. If this is not the case, then we need to consider the other options. You might experience other symptoms in addition to the chest pain on the left side, which can help determine the root of the problem.

A woman who is experiencing chest pain on the left side, above her breast, may also be experiencing the following symptoms:

Dizziness

Pain felt on the left side of the chest may occasionally be accompanied by symptoms of vertigo or lightheadedness. If you are feeling short of breath or dizzy, you should make an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Chest pain on the left side is something that should be taken seriously at any time, regardless of whether or not it is accompanied by any other symptoms. 

Discomfort in the chest

You may be having a heart attack because you have some swelling on the left side of your chest. You might get the sensation that someone is pressing their chest up against yours. This feeling may also be brought on by angina, a specific form of heart disease.

Radiating pain in the chest

You may also feel pain in your jaw, neck, shoulders, and back, in addition to the pain in your chest. You must keep a record of where your pain first started and how far it has spread.

Causes of left chest pain in women

If you're experiencing pain on the left side of your chest, you may have a variety of reasons for it. Other possible causes should be investigated after angina and a heart attack have been ruled out.

Heart attack

It's a medical emergency when the blood supply to the heart suddenly gets cut off, usually due to a blood clot, and the heart has to be restarted.1

Angina

Angina is a sign that something is wrong with the heart. Whenever there is a restriction in the blood flow to your heart, you may find that you are in a state of pain or discomfort. Something as seemingly innocuous as this can serve as an early warning sign of something more serious, such as coronary heart disease. The majority of the time, it is experienced in the upper body. Some people experience discomfort in the arm, neck, stomach, back, or jaw, but this varies from person to person.2

Myocarditis

Inflammation of the heart muscle, also known as the myocardium, is the cause of myocarditis. One cause of inflammation is the response of the immune system of the body to foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses. Infections caused by viruses, as well as more systemic inflammatory conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, can be the root cause of myocarditis. Myocarditis can cause the heart muscle to become so weak that it is unable to effectively pump blood to the rest of the body when the condition is severe.

Cardiomyopathy

It is possible for acquired cardiomyopathy to develop as a consequence of other heart and circulatory problems, but the condition can also be hereditary. As a result, a gene with a flaw can be handed down from one generation to the next. There is a possibility that some members of the family will be more severely impacted than others, while others might not be affected or show no symptoms at all.3

Pericarditis

Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium, which is a sac-like structure with two thin layers of tissue that surround the heart, helping it function. A small amount of fluid separates the layers, resulting in less friction as the heart beats.

Other causes of left chest pain in women

Panic attacks

Panic attacks can result in shortness of breath, trembling and dizziness. These symptoms can mimic angina. Panic attacks can be treated by mental health consultant.4

Heartburn or GERD

Burning in the chest that occurs because of stomach acid ascending towards the throat is referred to as heartburn (acid reflux). Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the medical term for when it occurs repeatedly (GERD).5

Pneumonia

Due to pneumonia, pain can be felt in the upper side of the breast on the left side of the chest.

Other causes include Collapsed lung, Lung cancer, Pulmonary embolism Pulmonary hypertension.

Diagnosis 

If you are complaining of chest pain on the left side, your physician will inquire about your symptoms and may suggest having blood tests performed to assist in locating the cause of the discomfort. In addition, the physician may decide to order an X-ray, an electrocardiogram, or an exercise stress test. They will want to rule out the possibility of a heart attack or any other issues related to the cardiovascular system.

It is possible that your doctor will check for a condition that is known as microvascular angina. This condition manifests when spasms or cellular dysfunction in the arteries of your heart prevent oxygen-rich blood from reaching your heart in sufficient quantities. They will look for other signs of trauma to your chest and breast, as well as conduct additional tests to determine if it is related to another illness, in order to rule out the possibility that you are suffering from heart problems.

Treatment

On the basis of the diagnosis that you are experiencing chest pain on the left side, your physician may recommend a number of different treatment options for you. In the event that your physician diagnoses you with microvascular angina, you may be given a prescription for medications such as:

  • The practice of using nitro-glycerine in order to relax and widen blood vessels.
  • Beta-blockers reduce the heart rate
  • Statins can reduce the rate at which fatty plaque builds up in your arteries.
  • Calcium channel blockers are one type of medication that can relax the arteries.

The underlying cause of your chest pain will serve as the primary factor in determining the seriousness and timeliness of your treatment. In situations in which the discomfort you are experiencing in your chest is not due to an issue with your heart, your doctor may recommend the following:

  • Antacids or acid reducers can treat acid indigestion, heartburn, and reflux.
  • Medications that treat anxiety
  • In the event that any of these organs is to blame for your symptoms, you might need surgery on the left side of your body.

Is chest pain in women different from that in men?

Patients suffering from Acute Coronary Syndrome, regardless of gender, report feeling a variety of chest pains. According to a recent study, it is extremely important to provide patients with the highest possible level of nursing care while also educating patients and their families about the signs and symptoms that frequently occur, particularly atypical symptoms. It will be less likely that treatment will be delayed, which will result in a reduction in the amount of time spent waiting before hospitalisation.6

Summary

If you are experiencing chest pain, you should get medical help immediately, even if your condition is not immediately life-threatening. Immediately dial 911 if you have any concerns that you might be having a heart attack.

References

  1. Heart attack. nhs.uk, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/ (2017, accessed 21 June 2022).
  2. Angina - Causes, symptoms & treatments, https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/angina (accessed 21 June 2022).
  3. Myocarditis, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/myocarditis (2021, accessed 21 June 2022).
  4. What is Pericarditis? www.heart.org, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/pericarditis/what-is-pericarditis (accessed 21 June 2022).
  5. Heartburn and acid reflux. nhs.uk, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heartburn-and-acid-reflux/ (2017, accessed 21 June 2022).
  6. Sella YO, Manistamara H, Apriliawan S, et al. Characteristic differences of chest pain in male and female patients with acute coronary syndrome: a pilot study. Journal of Public Health Research 2021; 10: jphr.2021.2242.

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Muhammad Mohsin

Master's degree - MSc Medical Bioscience, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland
Muhammad is an Ex. Hospital Pharmacist at Aga Khan University Hospital.

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