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Pain on the upper left side right below the breast
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Pain on the upper left side right below the breast

About 8 months ago I began experiencing pain on my upper left side just below the breast ( the pain is more towards the left bottom of the breast).  The pain would only come about 3 or 4 times a week at night while I slept.  In the last few months the pain occurs during the day too.  The pain sometimes radiates to the back of my ribs.  I'm not sure I'm seeing a correlation between what I eat or don't eat and it hurts at all times during the day.  It comes and goes during the day.  It hurts almost every day now. It's not terrible pain, but it is like a nagging pain. It feels like I have a cut inside and it is irritated.  In the last 2 weeks I've started experiencing nausea and fatigue.  I'm not sure if this is related, but would like your opinion as to what could be causing this pain and whether the nausea and fatigue could be related to it.  My bowel movements are normal although I have been burping quite a bit when I feel the nausea.  

About 6 years ago I began seeing a gastroenterologist for non-ulcerative dyspesia.  He ordered an endoscopy and everything was normal.  He prescribed medication to help with the dyspepsia.  I stopped taking the medicine (with my doctor's consent) about 3 years ago since I felt well.  Occasionally I will have burning pain at the mouth of the stomach after I eat something spicy or caffeine or I get constipated.  But that pain and area of pain is something I've always had during my life. During most of those 6 years, I stopped drinking sodas and anything that had caffeine.  About a year ago I began drinking about a coke or a glass of iced tea a day.  So I am not sure if that has caused my problem or not.  
Any insight into what my problem could be or what I should do to try to determine what it is, would be greatly appreciated. I am 32 year old female, if that helps any.  Thank you.

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There are many causes of these symptoms.  If there was a normal endoscopy 6 years ago, you may want to consider a repeat endoscopy.  An endoscopy can evaluate causes such as ulcers, inflammation of the stomach or esophagus, or any masses that can cause your symptoms.  I would also test for a bacteria known as H Pylori which is associated with inflammation or ulcers.  This can be treated with antibiotics.

If that is normal, you may want to consider a 24-hr pH study to definitively exclude the possibility of GERD.  Other tests to consider would include a CT scan to evaluate for chronic pancreatitis, or an ultrasound to evaluate for gall bladder disease - each of which can present atypically.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
2 Comments
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the list is long, and includes such things as gastritis, ulcer, gallbladder problems, irritable bowel, etc. The best approach would be to see your doctor; especially the gastroenterologist.
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Just an FYI.
My mom had the exact same symptoms as you are experiencing.
She had a lump removed in 1995 from her left breast, and had an enlarged kidney, which is located on the left side also.
I took her to a urologist, and then to her surgeon for a look at her breast. She lost alot of her energy. Walking was difficult. The pain was always there, wrapping around to her back. She couldn't sleep lying down, she had to sit up and even then couldn't sleep. She was scheduled for a repeat CT scan since she had one 4-5 months prior.  She was in soo much discomfort that I contacted her doctor for pain meds. He gave her Vicodin and said that if it made the pain go away then it would be a good sign.  He said that it sounded like she had cancer.  I was shocked that he would say that!?
After less than 48 hrs she was in the hospital and then a couple of days later diagnosed with malignant lymphoma.  The mass was behind the enlarged kidney and behind that breast that she was having checked. It was the size of a melon.  
Mom was 82, and became frail because the pain was draining her. Also, her calcium level in her blood was elevated and she was talking out of her head.  They gave her steroids to reduce the level of calcium, which in turn raised her sugar level since she was also a diabetic. She went through the chemo type of treatments.  Her legs swelled, and weeped. She got a bloodclot in her leg since she wasn't doing much walking.  Went into an assisted living complex and then into a nursing home.
She complained of pain last June or July.  Around Thanksgiving she was getting weak, and couldn't sleep.  The second weekend of December she went into the hospital and on April 27th, 2003 she passed away.
My mom was a "pistol" prior to this. She could run circles around all of us in our 30's, 40's and 50's. Healthy except for the diabetes. Watched her diet and even walked the treadmill.
I wish I would've known.

Please, I hope by now that you've had your CT scan!  If you haven't hurry and get it done!  Your symptoms sound like my mom's.  I wish you well.
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A related discussion, pain below breast was started.
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A related discussion, side pain was started.
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