Chest Problems
Symptom Checker: Chest Conditions In Women

Pictures of chest problems in women

Female Chest: See also, The Female Body

Chest Conditions


Chest Pain
Dull Pains
Left Sided Pain
Right Sided Pain
In Pregnancy
Sharp, Squeezing Chest Pain
Lung Problems
Breast Problems


Dull Chest Pain

  Which occurs when exercising: Pain is triggered by physical activity or cold temperatures. Usually starts on the left side of the chest underneath the breast. It can radiate to the jaw, neck, back and arms. This condition is called angina. If it starts appearing at rest your condition has become unstable and requires medical attention. See: Symptoms of angina attacks as well as causes of chest pain.
Which occurs suddenly Dull chest discomfort which lasts up to 20 minutes, but can come and go. There may also be shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, weakness and sudden fatigue. These are signs of a heart attack. The classic heart attack symptom is stabbing pain, but this is much more common in men than women. Women tend to describe their symptoms as a dull chest pain, in fact nearly 33 percent experience no chest pain at all. Seek urgent medical care if you suspect you are having a heart attack. See, heart attack symptoms in women.
Sudden pain with slurred speech The classic signs of stroke are: weakness of one part of the body (facial droop), dizziness, vision problems and trouble understanding or speaking. However women occasionally report unique symptoms which include chest pain, hiccups, shortness of breath and palpitations. See, stroke symptoms in women.
Chest discomfort and nausea A slight feeling of chest discomfort, like a pulled muscle; accompanied by unexplained breathlessness, generally feeling unwell or nauseous for a few hours. May feel like a bad bout of indigestion. While these symptoms can be easily overlooked, it could be a sign of something more serious. See, silent heart attacks.
Pain with fainting Sudden pain accompanied by fainting (syncope) or near fainting spells; as well as dizziness, shortness of breath or palpitations. This may be a sign of a serious irregular heartbeat. See, arrhythmia symptoms.
Occurs after eating A burning, dull warmth in the chest with belching, an acid taste in the mouth and shortness of breath. This sort of pain is bought on by indigestion and is called heartburn (although it is nothing to do with heart). Repeated and severe bouts of heartburn may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You are more at risk for both if you are pregnant, obese, eat a high fat diet, drink lots of coffee or alcohol or smoke. How to treat indigestion.
In the ribs Pain appears suddenly and lasts a few hours or several days. It is a dull ache but feels sharp if you press down on the ribs or move the upper torso. This condition is called costochondritis, it is caused by an inflammation in the area between the ribs and the cartilage. It is caused by muscle strain and heals naturally.
Pain when coughing Persistent dull pain in the lungs, but pain sharpens when you breathe in or cough. This condition is called pleurisy. Pleuritic pain is caused by an inflammation of the tissue surrounding the lungs. Depending on the cause treatment ranges from doing nothing to taking antibiotics or draining fluid from the lungs by surgery.
Pain with tiredness Chest pain which starts when you exert yourself (like angina), you may feel dizzy or faint. There may be breathlessness, headaches, irregular heartbeat and constant tiredness. Condition: Anemia. Other signs of anemia include pale, sallow or gray skin, swollen ankles, brittle nails, smooth tongue and cracks at the side of the mouth.

Left Sided Chest Pain

Note: Pain on the left side of the chest is more likely to be caused by the heart, such as a heart attack or angina (see above for details) - particularly if it appears suddenly, and causes breathing difficulties.

  With soreness: If the area is sore to touch and you experience widespread muscle pain and fatigue, it may be fibromyalgia syndrome. One of the fibromyalgia tender points is located in the left side of the chest and can be sore to touch. Doctors are still not sure what causes fibro pain, there may in fact be many causes. For example, see: Can a virus trigger fibromyalgia?
With pounding heart The heart feels like it is beating too fast, too slow, skipping a beat or beating irregularly. See: Heart palpitations.
With pounding heart and feeling sad Heart palpitations, chest pain, rapid breathing and a prolonged feeling of sadness you just can't shake. See effects of depression.

Right Sided Chest Pain

Note: Pain on the right side of the chest is unlikely to be related to heart problems in women.

  Pain gradually worsens: Pain which rapidly becomes more severe and lasts 30 minutes to several hours. It can spread between the shoulder blades and down the right shoulder. You may have gallstones. Notify your doctor as the stones will need to be surgically removed. This may be done by a newer procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy which does not require an overnight stay in hospital.
Popping sensation Pain or pressure below the right ribs accompanied by a 'popping' sensation. There may also be tiredness, general unwellness, aching muscles, headaches and skin rash. These are symptoms of liver disorders such as hepatitis.
Stress induced If you are stressed, any chest tightening or pain is likely to occur on the right side of the chest. Take the online test for stress.

Chest Pain In Pregnancy

Note: Chest pain and shortness of breath is common in the later stages of pregnancy as the baby grows and presses on the stomach and diaphragm. Other causes include:

  Sudden sharp pain which occurs soon after eating, can be due to trapped gas under the ribs caused by indigestion. No treatment usually required. To avoid repetitions, avoid eating heavy meals late at night (leave 4 hours before going to bed) and try to eat at regular times.
With fatigue Chest pain accompanied by tiredness and paleness can be a sign of anemia. May be accompanied by heart palpitations. See anemia in pregnancy.
Feels like muscle cramps Chest pain which feels more like cramping can be a sign of calcium deficiency. Talk to your prenatal healthcare team about ensuring you take suitable prenatal vitamins.

Sharp, Squeezing Chest Pain

  Which is worse when breathing: Sharp, squeezing chest pain which is worse when breathing deeply; coughing up blood and shortness of breath are all signs of pulmonary embolism. This is where a clot suddenly forms in the arteries. Pregnant women, cancer patients, people with recent leg injuries and bedbound patients are more prone to this condition. Seek immediate treatment.
Relieved by leaning forward Sharp stabbing pain which worsens when lying down or breathing deeply. Can radiate to the neck and shoulders. Sometimes accompanied by a dry cough, fever and fatigue. It is usually relieved by leaning forward or sitting up. Condition: Pericarditis.


  Wheezing, especially when you breathe out and is typically worse at 2am in the morning. There may also be a dry cough and a feeling of fighting for breath. Condition: asthma. A severe attack can be very frightening. Adult onset asthma - that is asthma which starts in adulthood - is more likely to occur in pregnant and menopausal women. It can also occur in people with allergies to cats, and those who gain lots of weight.
Pain On Breathing If you feel pain on deep breathing, have a dry cough and high fever, you may have pneumonia - particularly if you recently had a viral infection. Advanced symptoms include coughing up rust colored mucus, cold sores and rapid shallow breathing.
Persistent dull pain A persistent dull pain with shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing up blood (hemoptysis) may be lung cancer. If it has spread, it can cause shoulder pain as well hoarseness.



Breast inflammation while breastfeeding: Usually occurs within the first 6 weeks of starting breastfeeding. One or both breasts can be affected. Breasts become swollen, red and tender. There may also be fever and tiredness. This condition is called mastitis and is caused by an infection in the milk ducts. It is treated with antibiotics and hot showers.

Breast pain before period Breast pain linked to the menstrual cycle, more commonly occurs in the days before the period is due. Pain affects both breasts and can radiate out to the armpits. It may be accompanied by swelling or breast lumpiness. This is called mastalgia or cyclical breast pain. It is rarely a sign of anything serious.
Pain in one breast Pain occurs in just one area of the breast, it may be constant or intermittent. It is not linked to the menstrual cycle. This is called noncyclical breast pain. Common causes are hormone imbalances, obesity, muscle strain, breast surgery or infection. It has also been linked to infertility drugs and estrogen replacement medications for treating menopause.
Hard lump A hard lump accompanied by changes in breast appearance (skin dimpling) and nipple changes (nipples inverting) are signs of breast cancer. See, breast cancer symptoms.
Orange peel skin Looks similar to mastitis where the breast turning pink, red or purple. The skin also takes on an orange peel appearance, the breast is warm, tender to touch and nipples invert. These are all signs of a rare cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.
Breast lumpiness General breast lumpiness, the lumps move or slide around when you press them. They can increase or decrease in size rapidly. May be accompanied by breast pain. Some lumps can be painful to touch. See: Breast fibroids. See also, causes of a breast lump.

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