Overview About Breast Pain In Women
Mastalgia is also called Breast pain which can be related to tightness, tenderness, throbbing, sharp, stabbing, burning pain in one or both breasts that occurs commonly and usually doesn’t mean anything. This pain may be constant and it can occur in women, men, and transgender people.
Breast pain can vary in intensity from sharp pain to mild tingling. It may occur accordingly and below are the factors.
- This is mild-to-moderate, normal pain that affects both breasts in the month of two or three days leading up to a menstrual period.
- The pain may be severe, starting before a period and sometimes continuing through the menstrual cycle, and affects both breasts for a week or longer each month.
- It is not related to a menstrual cycle throughout the month
- Breast pain in men is most commonly caused by a condition called “gynecomastia”. Due to an increase in estrogen during puberty, which can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly.
- Hormone therapy in transgender women may cause breast pain. In transgender men, breast pain may be caused by the remaining amount of breast tissue after a mastectomy.
Often, breast pain signals a noncancerous (benign) breast condition and rarely indicates breast cancer. Strange breast pain that doesn’t go away after one or two menstrual cycles and breast pain that doesn’t seem to be related to hormone changes needs to be evaluated.
Symptoms Of Breast Pain
Breast pain can be categorized as either noncyclic or cyclic. If the pain occurs regularly called ‘cyclic pain’ and the pain is constant for noncyclic or that there’s not a regular pattern. Sometimes noncyclical pain causes can be harder to identify and is much less common than cyclical pain.
For each type of breast pain, there are distinct characteristics which are given below:
- Cyclic Breast Pain
- Related to changing hormone levels and the menstrual cycle
- Reported as heavy, dull, or aching
- Often conveyed by breast, fullness or lumpiness, swelling
- Normally touches both breasts, particularly the upper, outer portions, and can radiate to the underarm
- Intensifies during the two weeks leading up to the start of the menstrual period, then relieved up afterward
- More likely to touch people in their 20s and 30s, as well as people in their 40s who are transitioning to menopause
- Noncyclic Breast Pain
- Unrelated to the menstrual cycle
- Reported as burning, tight, stabbing, or aching sensation
- Intermittent or Constant
- Usually affects one breast but may spread more diffusely across the breast
- Most likely to occur after menopause for women
Risk Factors & Causes Of Breast Pain
Due to changes, hormone levels can cause changes in the milk gland can cause breast cysts, which can be painful and are a common cause of cyclic breast pain. Noncyclic breast pain may be caused by prior breast surgery, trauma, or other factors. This pain has causes that aren’t due to underlying disease.
Breast pain can be caused by a variety of factors that are given below:
- Caused due to Hormone fluctuations – Puberty, Pregnancy & Menopause
- Causes Breast cysts – Changes in milk glands & ducts
- Caused due to breastfeeding and breast pain – Mastitis, Engorgement, Improper latch
- Extramammary worries
- Back, neck, or shoulder sprains
Common people who haven’t completed menopause causes breast pain, although it may occur after menopause. This type of pain can also occur in men who have gynecomastia and in transgender people who are undergoing gender reassignment.
Other few factors that may increase the risk of breast pain are given below.
- Breast size
- Breast surgery
- Fatty acid imbalance
- Using of medication
- Due to excessive caffeine use
Prevention & Self-Treatment Of Breast Pain
Treatment will differ depending on whether your breast pain is cyclical or noncyclical. Your doctor will consider your age, medical history, and the severity of your pain before treating you. Women wearing a sports bra daily and a firm support bra during exercise may help to relieve breast pain. Taking medication to relieve pain – ibuprofen or paracetamol may also help.
Below are the treatments for cycling pain and noncyclic pain that may help prevent the causes of breast pain.
- Avoid hormone therapy if possible
- Reducing your sodium intake
- Taking calcium supplements
- Taking oral contraceptives – helps to make your hormone levels more even
- Taking estrogen blockers – Tamoxifen
- Avoid medications that cause breast pain or make it worse
- Try relaxation therapy – Helps to control the high levels of anxiety connected with severe breast pain.
- Eliminate or Limit Caffeine – A dietary change some people find helpful
- Avoid excessive or prolonged lifting activities
- Follow and eat more complex carbohydrates
- Consider using acetaminophen or ibuprofen over-the-counter pain relievers but long-term use may increase your risk of liver problems and other side effects. So, ask your doctor how much to take them.
Seeking Medical Care Through Doctor
If your breast pain is unexpected and conveyed by tingling, chest pain, and numbness in your extremities. Seek immediate medical attention and these symptoms can indicate a heart attack.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if your breast pain causes these factors which are given below:
- Interferes you from daily activities
- Lasts longer than two weeks
- If you find a lump that appears to be getting thicker
- Only occurs in one particular area of your breast
- Seems to get worse with time
- Constant for more than a few weeks
- Also, have redness or warmth
Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and prescribe specifically related treatments. They may also recommend imaging tests, like an ultrasound scan to visualize your breast tissue allowing them to identify cysts in your breast tissue. If you have cystic breasts, your doctor might do a needle biopsy (A thin needle is inserted into the cyst to remove a small sample of tissue for testing).
Consult your doctor always before starting to take any supplements to ensure they won’t interfere with the medicines you’re taking or any conditions you may have. During Consultation, you can expect your doctor to ask you about your symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells that lead to pain, stiffness, and discomfort in the breast. It is important not to ignore any symptoms that could be due to breast cancer through breast cancer is often painless. Few people may specify the pain as a burning sensation.
Wear an immovable support bra, use hot or cold stuff, observation with relaxation therapy. Dietary supplements & Vitamins may lessen breast pain symptoms and severity for some women.
Estrogen, progesterone levels change during the menstrual cycle and pills like birth control can increase the size of a person’s breasts. This leads to a change in the breast tissue and as a result, a person may feel that their breasts are soft or painful.
Unless, If they have unbearable breast pain, a person does not need to see a doctor if the pain disappears. But, a person should see a breast doctor for signs of an infection during breastfeeding, mainly if they feel unwell.
Hormonal swings are the number one reason women have breast pain.
You’ll need an X-ray exam of your breast that estimates the area of concern found during the breast exam (Diagnostic ultrasound scan).
Often, breast pain indicates a noncancerous (warm) breast condition and rarely indicates breast cancer. But strange breast pain that doesn’t go away after one or two menstrual cycles and breast pain that doesn’t seem to be related to hormone changes needs to be evaluated.
Caffeine causes blood carriers to dilate, which causes the breasts to enlarge and feel pain.
To decide whether your breast pain is connected to your menstrual cycle, keep a record of your periods and note when you experience pain throughout the month. After a menstrual cycle or two, a pattern may become clear. Maturity periods affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and potentially cause breast pain including puberty.
Symptoms related to breast pain are fever, aches, tiredness, and breast changes such as warmth, redness, and pain.
It’s important to see your doctor, either your Gynaecologist or your primary care physician for any new breast or nipple pain.
Estrogen causes the breast ducts to enlarge and Progesterone production causes the milk glands to enlarge. Both of these factors can cause your breasts to feel painful.