Severe shortness of breath & off and on chest pain but tests are fine? (Female, 21)

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hello friends.

I don't expect a professional answer, just thoughts or advice would be wonderful.

I am a relatively healthy female asides from being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, GERD, IBS, PCOS and just recently, gallstones.

I’m also 183lbs with no history of drugs or alcohol whatsoever.

Ever since my first dose of moderna a month+ ago, I’ve been having these chest pains that feel like a stabbing / stretching sensation in the upper right side above my breast that sometimes radiates to the left side as well.

another major symptom I’m having is a severe feeling of breathlessness.

I haven’t been able to catch my breathe for an entire week straight now and it feels as though my lungs and throat are being squeezed. I am constantly 24/7 gasping for air.

The chest pain however, would start up for a few days, then go away only to return a few weeks later which I find just really strange..

The first occasion where this happened started just 2 days after the shot and ever since then, I’ve been back and forth to the hospital multiple times for tests like ECG’s, X-rays, and blood work which all just ended up coming back fine.

I’m honestly at a loss of what’s going on and would appreciate some thoughts of what could be happening.. could this really be anxiety?

I do have a family doc appointment scheduled for the end of the month, but I’m just so anxious that I’ll pass out at any moment due to the amount of pain I am in.

I am quite the hypochondriac and so doing research on this isn’t exactly helping with my anxiety. I feel as though they should be doing an MRI or something along those lines to further investigate considering I’ve read that ECG’s and X-rays can miss some of the things that could be going on.

I understand that anxiety can cause symptoms like this, but I’m not usually this anxious.. I only ever get severe anxiety when I am feeling genuine pain and fear that it’s the worst possible things causing it, or simply just going out in social settings.

so if i'm being honest, I truly doubt that anxiety is the cause for the pain I am in but I am not a doctor so I can't really say for sure..

for further background, I do enjoy gaming a lot and im quite the introvert. with that being said, I naturally don’t really do much other than occasionally taking small walks around my neighborhood or going to see my doctor + shopping and so honestly, I don’t understand what could be bringing this on.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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  • Posted

    your symptoms could be due to anxiety since you have had testing done and it’s all normal.

    The only other test I can think of would be to get an echocardiogram to further check on how your heart is functioning. And in the meantime, Do some relaxation exercises to bring down any anxiety you may be having.

    there are some great breathing exercises on YouTube for anxiety or just some meditations that you can do to relax.

    If after a reasonable amount of time your symptoms continue, let your doctor know again or you can see a cardiac specialist.

    hope everything settles down for you. Take care

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  • Posted

    Hi caitlin,

    I have a similar story with moderna vaccine. I don't have health anxiety, and was actually quite excited to get the vaccine. A few days after i got the first dose, I got a unexplained panic attack, and trouble breathing. This was about 5 months ago. I never had random panic attacks before this, just general anxiety about certain situations. The panic attacks have lessened for sure, but the breathing issue has stayed for months. My chest feels tight/heavy/has pressure, and my inhales take a lot of effort. Somedays I also feel breathless very easily, from just making the bed for example. I have tried inhalers, acid reflux meds, and nothing really helps. I am doing CBT type therapy, and even that helps me a limited amount. At this point, I think it's just a brain chemical imbalance. So I keep meditating, and keeping myself busy with work. If I get intense symptoms, I take a break. But otherwise I try to stay positive and keep doing what I'm doing. Whatever I have is not life threatening, and I think it will go away with time.

    It sounds like you got a lot of tests done, and they are all normal. So take some comfort in the fact that you are healthy. The more you tell yourself that, the better you will feel. But of course get the tests done to make sure it's nothing else. Hope you feel better soon!

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  • Edited

    I have no experience with the vaccine, but 2 years ago I came down with 24/7 shortness of breath.. I did not feel it was anxiety, I was not an anxious person at all. I was in and out of the ER thinking it had to be my asthma, they put me on prednisone, nothing else works. There was no way this could be anxiety!! I was only having anxiety due to not being able to caught my breath.. but... My doctor suggested Zoloft.. I was very hesitant, but nothing else was working and I felt desperate so I ended up starting Zoloft.. it was extremely hard, especially in the beginning, my breathing got worse and I honestly felt like I was slowly dying.. over time, it slowly started to get better and better. I came of in 2 months ago. I probably should have stayed on it longer cause it is still slightly there, but I can function normally again and another of the time don't even notice it. There is hope, it will work! And you will get better!

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    • Edited

      Thank you sharing your story Kelly. It sounds so similar to myself. I'm not an anxious person, don't feel stressed right now at all, and I feel like if I didn't have this breathing thing, I would have no anxiety. I also feel like I have asthma, but none of my inhalers help. Did you have any other symptoms other than shortness of breath? I also have chest tightness and pressure where I feel like my chest can't expand completely. I feel so uncomfortable all day. I'm planning for a pregnancy so don't think I can try zoloft (although my doc says even pregnant women can use this med if they really need it). How long till your symptoms started getting better after starting meds? Thanks again so much for sharing.

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    • Posted

      I know exactly what you are talking about! Only relief was when I'd be asleep.. felt like my chest couldn't expand enough to get oxygen.. I got so bad, I would get out of breath walking and yet I'd wiggle around just to catch my breath and like a minute later needed to do it all again... sometimes even stand up... it is definitely anxiety, I had exactly what you are having.. take the zoloft! I was on it about 2 years, ended at 150mg.. I think if I had increased faster I would have gotten better faster.. I got off cause I wanted another baby but that's not in the cards for us... be reassured though, there is light at the end of the tunnel, Zoloft will help you get to the other side!

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    • Edited

      yes!!! The only relief I get is when I sleep, so I love sleeping. And yes - right before this I was super active, but all of a sudden even walking or taking some stairs leaves me so breathless. Sometimes I'm breathless just from talking. It's like having severe asthma or COPD, but not actually having it. I'm fighting for every inhale with so much effort. But just reading your story makes me feel so much better! I'm going to stay away from the Zoloft for now because we are trying for a baby. But good to know if I need it, I have options. Before this I thought I had some weird asthma that doesn't respond to inhalers. Or some other mystery condition. Never thought it could be anxiety, because my life is low stress right now, and my only complaint is this breathing issue/ chest pressure. Thank you once again!!! So grateful to hear this story.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kelly,

      I don't know if you will see this. But I had a follow-up question. What was it like coming off of the Zoloft? Did your breathing symptoms return once you stopped? I'm planning for a pregnancy any day now. But I can't imagine being pregnant with this breathing symptoms. But I can't wait either, since I'm 36. So I was thinking of trying Zoloft short term for a few months, and then stopping. So just wondering what your experience was like stopping the Zoloft. Hope you see this!

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    • Posted

      I agree with you, I couldn't imagine being pregnant with the breathing issue.. I came off too soon, it wasn't completely gone (even after 2 years) because we were gonna try for another baby... coming off my breathing stayed pretty much where it was, but it does get worse again when under stress.. honestly thinking about going on it again for as long as it takes.. it never fully went away.. but it is manageable. They say to stay on the dosage for at least 6 months once it gets better.. it is a long road, but talk with your doctor, I believe it is safer 2nd trimester for the baby, if you can deal until then.. there is fear of the baby being born with withdrawal but I believe it is slim.. again, talk with your doctor. Will be praying for you!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Kelly! Has your docs ever suggested possible acid reflux? I think acid reflux also causes problems with deep breathing, and the effort needed to get a satisfying inhale. I tried acid reflux meds for a week, and it made no difference. I may try it again for a little longer. There is a chance that although your breathing got better, it never completely went away with zoloft, due to some acid reflux? Just a thought.

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    • Posted

      No they never suggested that. They did look into asthma (which I have seasonal) and anemia but all my tests came back normal. I hardly ever have acid... but will look into it. Thanks!

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