Breast Pain


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By Medicover Hospitals / 27 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | breast-pain
  • Breasts evolve during puberty because of an increase in estrogen. During the menstrual cycle, various hormones cause changes in the breast tissue that can cause pain or discomfort in some women. While breasts are painless, occasional breast pain is common. Pain, swelling, heaviness, stinging or burning, tightness, whatever the sensation, breast pain hurts.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is Breast Pain?
    2. Causes
    3. Treatment
    4. When to visit a Doctor?
    5. Prevention
    6. FAQ's

    What is Breast Pain?

  • Breast pain is a common condition among females, also known as mastalgia. Pain is generally classified as cyclical or non-cyclical. Cyclical pain means that the pain is associated with your menstrual cycle. Pain-related to the menstrual cycle decreases during or after your period. Non Cyclical pain, including injury to the breast, may have several causes. Sometimes non-cyclical pain can come from the surrounding muscles or tissues rather than the breast itself. Non Cyclical pain is much less common than cyclical pain, and its causes can be more difficult to identify.
  • Mastitis can range in intensity from sharp pain to mild tingling. Some women may experience breast tenderness or their breasts may feel fuller than normal.
  • Causes:

    Hormonal changes:

  • Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and cause breast swelling and pain. Estrogen affects the ducts, while progesterone affects the glands present in the breasts. This type of pain is worse two to three days before the menstrual cycle or persists throughout the cycle. This type of pain may decrease or go away after pregnancy or menopause.
  • Breast cysts:

  • As a woman ages, her breasts undergo changes known as involution. This is when the breast tissue is replaced by fat. The growth of cysts and more fibrous tissue is a side effect of this. These are referred to as fibrocystic changes or the tissue of the fibrocystic breast.
  • Fibrocystic breasts can feel lumpy and can increase sensitivity. This occurs most often in the upper and outer portions of the breasts. The lumps can also increase in size during the time of your menstrual cycle.
  • Breastfeeding and breast pain:

  • Breastfeeding is a natural and nutritious way to feed your baby, but it is not without its pitfalls and pitfalls. You may experience breast pain while breastfeeding for many reasons. These include:
    • Mastitis:

    • Mastitis is an infection of the milk ducts. This can cause severe and sharp pain, and cracking, itching, burning, or blisters on the nipples. Other symptoms include red streaks on the breasts, fever, and chills. Your doctor will treat them with antibiotics.
    • Congestion:

    • Engorgement occurs when your breasts get too full. Your breasts are swollen and your skin feels tight and painful. If you cannot feed your baby soon, you can try expressing or expressing your milk by hand.
    • You can do this by placing your thumb on your breast and your fingers under your breast. Slowly move your fingers back against your chest wall and forward toward your nipples to empty your breast.
    • Improper latch:

    • If your baby is not latching on properly to your nipple, he is likely to experience sore breasts. Signs that your baby may not latch on properly include cracked nipples and sore nipples.
    • A lactation consultant at the hospital where you delivered can usually help you establish a healthier latch.

    Other Causes:

  • Breast pain can have other causes, including:
    • Diet:

    • The foods a woman eats can contribute to breast pain. Women who eat unhealthy diets, such as those high in fat and refined carbohydrates, may also be at higher risk for breast pain.
    • Extramammary Concerns:

    • Sometimes breast pain is not caused by the breasts, but by irritation of the chest, arms, or back muscles. This is common if you've done activities like raking, rowing, paddling, and water skiing.
    • Breast size:

    • Women with larger breasts or breasts that are not in proportion to their structure may experience neck and shoulder discomfort.
    • Breast surgery:

    • If you've had breast surgery, pain caused by scar tissue formation may persist after the incisions have healed.
    • Medications:

    • Antidepressants, hormone therapy, antibiotics, and medications for heart disease can contribute to breast pain.
    • Smoking:

    • It is understood that smoking raises the levels of epinephrine in breast tissue. This can make a woman's breasts sore.


  • The diagnosis of breast pain begins with a physical exam. The healthcare provider examines the breasts for lumps or unusual changes. The chest and abdomen are also examined to rule out non-cyclical pain. Other tests carried out are:
  • Mammogram:

  • A mammogram is an imaging test. The healthcare provider advises a mammogram if there are lumps present in the breast.
  • Ultrasound:

  • It is an imaging test and is often done with a mammogram. This test helps assess the area of pain, even if a mammogram report is normal.
  • Biopsy:

  • A biopsy test is recommended to determine the type and extent of the damage if there are cysts or lumps in the breast tissue.
  • Treatment:

  • Depending on whether the breast pain is cyclical or non-cyclical, treatment can vary.
  • Treatment for cyclical pain may include:
    • Wearing a support bra 24 hours a day when pain is worst
    • Reducing your sodium intake
    • Taking calcium supplements
    • Taking oral contraceptives, which can help make your hormone levels more even
    • Taking estrogen blockers, such as tamoxifen
    • Taking pain relievers, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Treatment for non-cyclical pain will depend on the cause of the breast pain. Once the cause is identified, your doctor will prescribe specifically related treatments.
  • Always speak with your doctor before you take any supplement to make sure it doesn't interfere with the medications you are taking or any conditions you may have.
  • When to visit a Doctor?

  • If your breast pain is sudden and is accompanied by chest pain, tingling, and numbness in your extremities, seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms may be a sign of a heart attack.
  • You should see your doctor if:
    • One or both breasts change in size or shape
    • There is a discharge from any of the nipples
    • There is a rash around the nipple
    • There are dimples in the skin of the breasts
    • In one of your armpits, you detect a lump or swelling
    • You have pain in your armpits or breasts that are not related to your menstrual cycle
    • You notice a change in the appearance of your nipple
    • Note an area in your breast with thickened tissue or a lump


  • Prevention and cure can be possible by taking the following steps:
    • Eat a diet rich in fiber, as it decreases the production of estrogens and therefore reduces inflammation and pain in the breasts.
    • Wear a supportive bra that fits you perfectly and also exercise wearing just a sports bra.
    • Avoid caffeine and drink herbal teas instead.
    • Limit alcohol consumption and stop smoking.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • The presence of breast pain or cysts does not indicate cancer. The tumors present in the cyst can also be benign. If the pain is persistent and localized, see a doctor for a more detailed diagnosis.
  • Caffeine intake can cause hormonal changes that ease discomfort.
  • Breast pain usually starts from the third or fourth week of pregnancy. This pain can be constant during the first trimester and go away.
  • Estrogen is associated with breast pain, and a diet low in fat, especially low in saturated fat, can lower the level of estrogen and improve breast pain and lumps. Avoid meat and dairy products and eat more fish, tofu, and fat-free dairy products.
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