What Causes Stomach Pain Under Breast Bone?

What Causes Stomach Pain Under Breast Bone?

Stomach pain under your breast bone (sternum) or upper abdomen could be caused by any disorders or disease. Thus, it’s important to know the symptoms (other than upper abdominal pains) and be

aware of what signs to look for.

In this article, we’ll provide some of the common causes of stomach pain under breast bone and discomfort. We’ll also provide the symptoms associated with each of the specific disorders.


Causes of Stomach Pain Under the Breast Bone

The following are some of the possible reasons for upper abdominal pains:

1. Gallstones

These are solid substances that form from a digestive enzyme called bile which accumulates in the gallbladder.

Individuals who develop gallstones may have to undergo gallstone removal surgery. In some cases, however, if the gallstones don’t induce any symptoms then treatment may not be recommended.


  • Intense pain in the upper abdominal section.
  • Also, you may feel intense pain right in the center of your upper abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shoulder pains
  • Back pains concentrated in the middle of the shoulder blades.

2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid refluxes

It’s a digestive disease that affects the tissue linings of the stomach and esophagus. This condition also leads to acid indigestion or heartburn. Normally, health experts advise a lifestyle change to deal with acid refluxes. However, in some cases, they may recommend surgery or using medications.


  • Pain or burning sensation in the upper-middle abdomen.
  • It can go up in the chest area causing heartburn. It typically occurs after you’ve taken your breakfast and may aggravate at nighttime.
  • The development of a lump in your throat.
  • Food refluxes from your digestive system that tastes sour when it goes up in your esophagus.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Coughing.
  • Difficulty sleeping.

3. Indigestion or dyspepsia

It’s a discomfort that occurs in the upper abdominal section. It’s rather a list of symptoms than a stand-alone condition.

Individuals who experience indigestion feel pain in their abdomen and/or area. It usually happens after a heavy meal or consuming a certain beverage or food.


  • Abdominal and/or chest pain.
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Satiety or feeling full even without consuming a large meal.
  • Belching

4. Gastritis

This condition is characterized by the inflammations in the tissue linings of the stomach. It develops when the stomachs’ linings weaken caused by digestive enzymes that lead to inflammations.

It’s categorized into three types:

  • Acute gastritis: It causes abrupt and severe inflammations into the tissue linings of the stomach.
  • Chronic gastritis: It’s a type of gastritis that endures for a long period. It may even persist for years it doesn’t get medical attention.
  • Erosive gastritis: This is a rare type of gastritis, which causes less inflammation. However, it can contribute to the development of other abdominal conditions like ulcers or gastrointestinal bleedings.

Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen

However, if the individual develops erosive gastritis, they may experience additional symptoms which include:

  • Vomiting blood
  • Black colored stool

5. Liver abscess

It’s the accumulation of discharged liquid in the liver which is caused by parasites, bacteria, or fungi.


  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pain concentrated in the upper abdomen.
  • Coughing
  • Sudden loss of appetite.

6. Jaundice

  • A condition where the skin, nails, or eyes turns to yellow.
  • Fever
  • Experiences excessive sweating during nighttime.

7. Gastroparesis

It’s a disorder where the digestive system can’t break down foods normally. It’s especially common for individuals suffering from diabetes for a long period.

The primary cause of Gastroparesis is nerve injury which includes vague nerve damage. These particular nerves support the stomach tissues to contract whenever the foods are passes through the digestive tracts.


  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn.
  • Vomiting which includes undigested foods.
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Satiety

8. Hiatal hernia

This type of hernia develops when your upper abdomen bulges and protrudes the muscle tissues that separate your diaphragm and abdomen.

A small hernia doesn’t typically show symptoms. A person may only know that he developed hiatal hernia through their regular physical examination.

On the other hand, a large hiatal hernia can cause be problematic and result in several symptoms which include:

  • Gastroesophageal acid disease or heartburn.
  • Pain when swallowing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Abdominal and/or chest pain.
  • Vomiting of undigested foods and liquids.
  • Blood in your vomit

9. Upper abdominal pain during pregnancy

Abdominal discomfort during pregnancy is normal. The primary cause of the pain is the changes that occur in your body that involves the continuous development of the infant. As the baby grows, they also consume more space. Thus, your body has to adjust to this event.

Other causes of discomfort in the upper abdominal section may include the following:

  • Stomach flu
  • Constipation
  • Allergic reaction
  • Kidney stones
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions
  • Fibroids

What’s causing the stomach pain under breast bone and upper abdominal pain may also include a more serious condition, it’s the following:

  1. Ectopic pregnancy
  2. Urinary tract infection
  3. Placenta abruption

It’s important to religiously attend your monthly visit to your gynecologist to prevent any medical conditions from occurring.

10. Peptic ulcer

Peptic ulcer disease or simply PUD is a medical condition where the stomach tissues are damaged creating internal open wounds. A peptic ulcer is categorized into two types:

  1. Duodenal ulcers: This type of PUD develops within the upper section of the small intestine
  2. Gastric ulcer: It develops within the stomach.

The leading cause of peptic ulcer is an infection induced by a bacterium called H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori). Also, excessive usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin can result in peptic ulcers. In contrary to traditional beliefs, spicy foods and stress do not lead to the development of ulcers. If you already have an ulcer, however, these factors may aggravate your condition.


  • Gastroesophageal acid reflux (GERD) or heartburn.
  • Belching
  • Pain and burning sensation in the mid-abdominal section.
  • Food intolerance to fatty and greasy foods.
  • Bloating
  • Nausea


When To Seek Medical Counsel?

Abdominal discomfort that isn’t serious can be treated just by placing ice packs onto the section where the pain is concentrated. Over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t usually recommended because it might irritate some conditions, thus, aggravating the symptoms.

You’ll need to visit your local doctor if the abdominal pain persists for more than a week.

It’s also crucial not to miss any of your monthly physical examinations. Medical conditions that show seemingly benign symptoms and those that present no symptoms at all may be detected during these routine check-ups.

Mom Pamper

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