ZocdocAnswersCan chest pains be associated with puberty?

Question

Can chest pains be associated with puberty?

My son is 14 and has been struggling with chest pains that seem pretty fierce. I want to take him to the doctor, but my husband has argued that it's just a 'growing pain' because our boy's hitting puberty. Could my husband be right, or should we get the poor kid to a doctor, already?

Answer

Chest pains is a concern, an in fact somewhat unusual in a young child. While this maybe from a perfectly non-concerning cause--I would recommend you seek out his pediatrician in order to have this evaluated. Growing pains is certainly a well known condition. This normally occurs in muscles--and therefore places that have muscles are more commonly effected such as the legs and the arms. The chest is an unusual place for this but certainly possible. It is not 100% clear what causes these pains but we know they resolve without long-lasting problems. There are other very important structures in the chest that can cause pain. Obviously, the heart can cause pain. While this would be very rare in teenagers--there can be heart problems that occur at this age. Your pediatrician can evaluate for this. Other important structures include the lungs and the stomach. While these are unlikely causes--they deserve to be ruled out. Warning symptoms such as shortness of breath, worsening pain with exercise, pain with eating or blood in stool would warrant emergent evaluation. Another common cause of chest pain is inflammation of the ribcage--known as costochondritis. This resolves without significant problems but certain medicines (known as NSAIDS) can drastically improve the symptoms. In kids--trauma is a common cause of pain--causing sprain/strain/inflammation of the chest wall. I would recommend a pediatric evaluation.

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