Breast Pain: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Pain in breasts is a common issue, especially in younger women. Breast pain is known by many names like Mammalgia, Mastalgia, and Mastodynia. Also, the treatment for the pain depends largely on its cause.
The breast pains may be a consequence of breast tenderness, tightness in the tissue, and also sharp burning pain in the area. The pain may occur occasionally or may constantly happen, causing more suffering and trouble.
However, menstruation in women might also be one of the causes of breast pain, but that is temporary and needs no treatment. This pain affects both breasts, and you can experience mild to moderate pain. The pain may last up to a week or more, which can start before your period and continue throughout the menstruation cycle.
The pain related to the menstruation cycle is known as cyclic mastalgia.
If the pain lasts throughout a month or more, it is surely not related to your menstruation cycle. In such a condition, you should consult a breast surgeon. Dr, Shilpy Dolas is a lady breast surgeon in Pune; she says generally breast pains are common for younger women. However, women who passed the menopause period can also have breast pains.
Breast pains can also happen due to the formation and growth of tumors in the breasts. It is a rare case and can happen as a side effect of certain medications. Such lumps in the breast are termed as benign breast tumors.
Breast cancers are often painless, and it can be detected by mammograms or the ultrasound of the breast. Also, it can be detected manually by a thorough examination of a professional medical practitioner.
One must immediately consult the breast doctor in case of any lump in the breast.
In most cases, breast pain signals a benign or a breast condition which is noncancerous and very rarely indicates breast cancer.
Causes of Breast Pain in Women
Breast pain may happen due to a number of reasons which might or might not be related to your menstrual cycle. They are-
- An infection in the breast region
- Water retention can happen during menstrual cycles leading to breast pains
- Hormonal changes during the periods
- Breastfeeding or nursing
- Surgery from a biopsy like a breast reduction and mastectomy
- Fibrocystic breasts or breast lumps
- Breast cysts
- Mastitis, an infection in the milk duct
- Engorgement or enlargement of the breasts during the breastfeeding period
- Breast cancers (sporadic cases cause pain)
Also, in case you experience frequent pain attacks in the breast, take professional assistance from a Breast Doctor to the earliest.
Breast pains in women can be classified into cyclic or non-cyclic. Cyclic is related to a menstruation cycle; the pain comes cyclically. Non-cyclical breast pains generally happen in one breast or any part or section of the breast and may spread over the whole area.
The effect of the pain totally depends on the cause of the pain. There can be physical changes of the breasts like-
- Breasts may be lumpy and swelled up
- It may become tender
- Size of your breasts may change physically
Diagnosis of Breast Pain
The doctors may examine you and ask for the location of the pain. Also, he/she might examine to see if there are any lumps in your breasts. If your doctor sees any peculiarities and abnormalities with the pain, he/she might ask you to go through some tests which are as follows-
- Clinical breast exam– In this examination, the doctor will want to see any lumps in your breast region physically and also the lymph nodes in your lower neck and Your doctor may also check for your heart and lungs and check your chest and abdomen to find out if the pain may be caused due to other reasons or not. He/she might also go through your medical history, followed by a physical breast exam. In case the doctor doesn’t find any unusual occurrence, you may not need to do additional tests.
- Mammogram– If your doctor finds some lumps or unusual changes in the size of your breasts or finds an area where your pain is focused, they might ask you to go through an X-ray exam of your breasts to detect the area of the source of the pain.
- Ultrasound-This test is done along with the mammogram by passing ultrasonic sound waves to produce images of your You may have to get this test done even if the mammogram appears normal to detect the focused area of the pain.
- Breast Biopsy- The doctors perform this test before any other diagnosis if you have any suspicious breast lumps or peculiar shape changes of your breasts. The doctor takes a sample of your breast tissue and sends it to the lab to be verified further and
There are some home remedies that you can maintain to reduce the amount of pain. Some medications are prescribed to treat women from breast pains. In most cases, the breast pain resolves on its own after some time, and you may not even need any treatment. But if you require any treatment, you may be suggested with some treatments by your doctor which are as follows-
- Wearing a supportive bra
- Adjusting birth control pills can also help with breast pain reduction
- Reducing the dose of menopausal hormonal therapy
- Your doctor may recommend you to take anti-inflammatory medications or creams which can be applied to the region where you feel pain
- You may be suggested to take Danazol, which is a medication prescribed by the doctors and approved by the FDA to use to treat breast pains
- Applying cold or heat in the painful region and also primrose oil helps
Breast pains are common among all women, but even though there is no need to get panicked, it is, however, recommended that you consult a doctor if you find any abnormalities associated with your pain. Your safety is our concern. Stay well known about the facts and stay healthy.