Expert comment

Larissa Hirsch, pediatrician, MD, New York

Like most parts of the body, the chest can hurt from time to time. Not only for girls, but also for boys.

Teenage girls may experience soreness when touching their breasts, sleeping on their stomachs, walking, aching sensations, and swelling, as if their breasts had doubled in size overnight.

In boys, breast sensitivity appears, there may be a slight seal under the nipple. In general, this is the norm, but it can also be a signal of problems. Should I be afraid right now?

The truth is that chest pain in a teenager is rarely cancer, no matter what they say on TV or on the Internet. But why does the chest begin to hurt?

The time of active breast growth varies from girl to girl. Most girls start growing breasts around age 10 or 11, but it’s normal for breasts to start growing between the ages of 8 and 13. On average, it takes 4 to 5 years for a girl’s breasts to reach their adult size.

When guys hit puberty, there is often a slight increase in breast size. During puberty, hormones in the body can actually cause breast growth. The difference is that in boys this condition is called gynecomastia and is usually temporary.

  • What is the cause of the pain?

The chest can hurt at the very beginning of growth, in this period, under the nipple area, you can notice a small “knob”, a seal, both in boys and girls. In the vast majority of cases, this is the norm, the pain is more like discomfort due to sensitivity and disappears within a few weeks. This is part of puberty.

Also, the chest often hurts at the beginning of menstruation in girls or immediately before it. During the menstrual cycle, a girl’s body produces a lot of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormones can cause feelings that are collectively referred to as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Some girls experience painful abdominal cramps, headaches, mood swings, or cravings for certain foods. During this time, fluid can accumulate in the body, which can cause the girl to feel swollen and “bloated”. Rings and shoes can become small. This fluid in the body also causes the breast tissue to expand, which affects the nerve endings and causes soreness and discomfort in the breast.

Breast swelling and tenderness can also be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Be sure to talk to a parent or doctor right away if the possibility of pregnancy cannot be ruled out.

In addition, if there is discharge from one or both breasts, you should immediately consult a doctor.

  • What can be done to ease the pain?

Most PMS symptoms, including chest pain, should go away once your period starts. You can take painkillers such as ibuprofen. Wearing a supportive bra can also help. By the way, one of the causes of pain can be in an uncomfortable bra!

A healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate hours of sleep at night are the best helpers in the fight against pain. It is also worth cutting down on salty foods and caffeinated foods such as coffee, tea, and even cocoa and chocolate. Some people benefit from a diet rich in calcium and magnesium.

  • What to do if the pain causes anxiety?

Sometimes these tips don’t help you feel better. If the pain has become stronger, or it lasts longer than usual, there are seals in the chest, or all this is just disturbing — there is no need to sit at home and worry. You need to tell your parents and see a doctor.