Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Uncomfortable Pain/Burning in Breast
An_243080 posted:
I've been having a very uncomfortable burning sensation on the side of my left breast all day and it only seems to get worse. I've had pains before but not quite like this. I checked for lumps...nothing. Any ideas on what it could be? (Let me add that I'm not breastfeeding)
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear An: Some possible explanations might include: injury or strain to the muscles on the left chest wall, trauma to the breast itself, an outbreak of shingles (herpes zoster), a hormonally induced fibrocystic area, an infection in the breast, or more remotely, an inflammation of the lining of the lung on that side.

Please go see either your GYN, clinic, or primary care MD for a focused breast exam. If you do have shingles it will typically occur on one side only and escalate in intensity of pain. Of all the possible conditions described above, shingles needs to be seen promptly so anti-viral medications can be started.

ppmickey responded:
I have chronic Chostochronditis (SP?), which is where the ligaments holding the ribs to the breastbone tear. It used to only happen when I carried something real heavy, but seems to happen more often since I'm 59 now with less weight being lifted. It causes a terrible burning pain that sometimes worsens and then I have trouble telling if it's my angina acting up or the chostochronditis. I usually end up taking nitroglycerine and if it takes away the pain it's usually chostochronditis causing the problem. I also have fibrocystic breasts and sometimes ones of the lumps will enlarge and cause pain. They usually shrink within a weeks amount of time.

You definitely need to see a doctor ASAP. This could be a symptom of a heart attack as well. Women can sometimes have some strange symptoms of heart attacks. My mother-in-law suffered with a burning pain on the left side of her chest before finally getting help and she'd had a bad heart attack which caused terrible damage to her heart from having let the problem go for the entire day. She also had Alzhiemer's, in mid-stage and wasn't able to reason that she may be suffering a heart attack. It was her second one. Breast pain the worsens is nothing to wait around for to see what's going to happen. It's not worth the risk. Please let the people in here know what you find out when you've seen a doctor. The best of luck to you.
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP replied to ppmickey's response:
Dear ppmickey: Thank you SO MUCH for discussing these other causes of "breast" pain. Whilst cardiac pain (hearth attack or angina) is less likely in younger women, by one's 40's it certainly needs to be ruled out.

By contrast costochondritis (an inflammation of the cartilage holding the ribs to the breast bone/sternum) can arise at any age. It's pain can be reproduced by pressing firmly at the junction of the ribs and the breast bone. Treatment is often an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. Here is more information about this common cause of chest pain:

In Gratitude,
Laydybird responded:
I had burning and pain in my breast and just last year I was
diagnosed with estrogen positvie cancer. I was interested in what you said about fibrocystic breast and harmones. Is this
what developed into cancer in my breast as I have been told
over and over I had fibercystic disease.
ppmickey replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
Hi Jane,
Even though she's in her 20's, my sister-in-law started having serious heart problems that started around the age of 19 or 20. it's surprising, as a retired social worker, the number of young women in their 20's that had heart problems. We used to bond as a working team for the good of their family by talking about our symptoms, Rx's and fears we had.

Being 59 I am no longer able to take NSAIDS of any type due to moderate to severe diverticulitis and severe hemorrhoids that are severe and up deep inside my colon. I can't take NSAIDS or any type of antidepressants without hemorrhaging. I am 59 and took NSAIDS since my mid-20's, Rx's, and OTC NSAIDS. I am now suffering the consequences of years on those drugs. They are something I wish I had taken far less of for decades.

I thank you for the info and website but still think that heart problems at any age should be checked out. That's just a personal opinion.

Thank you Jane. You offer so much great advice and I always like to read what you have written. You are of great help to so many.
ppmickey replied to Laydybird's response:
I'm so sorry Laydybird. I hope you are able to get over your cancer quickly and have it never come back. I too have fibrocystic disease in my breasts and so did my mother. That's why mammograms are so important to me and were to my mother. I found out two days before she died, from her deathbed, that she had been orphaned as a child and her mother had died from cancer of either uterine or ovarian cancer. My mother died from lung cancer. I also recently found out that many men and women in my paternal birth family died from cancer, so it is something I need to be very cautious of. I wish you the best of luck. How are you coming along now?

Helpful Tips

Best Way For Build Muscle Easily
Here York elected top first come up talking about yourself empower yourself that's it quality here every your project right now go for I ... More
Was this Helpful?
0 of 0 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Below the Belt: Women's Health - Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP

From HPV to irregular periods to PMS to fibroids, Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, is here to share her knowledge and insight...Read More

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.