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Breast Pain: Causes, Types and Treatment

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Breast Pain -Causes, Types and Treatment

Breast pain or mastalgia is a common complaint of women. Its wide description includes breast tenderness, sensitivity or intense pain. Breast pain or breast tenderness can be constant or appear only in certain situations such as tactile stimulation, lactation, in the premenstrual period, etc.

The pain can be intermittent or can last days, months or even years. In the most cases mastalgia signals a benign disorder of the breast, but in some cases, especially when associated with nipple retraction, discharge or breast nodule, it can conduct the diagnosis to a malignant disease. Nevertheless, a breast pain should be the reason for a gynecological consult. 

Causes for Breast Tenderness:

  1. Reproductive hormones; cyclical breast pain can precede menstrual cycle or persist in the first days of menstrual cycle and reflects the specific hormonal changes of this period. It often diminishes over time and disappears with menopause.
  2. Breast structure; surgical interventions, breast density, or structures around the breast (thoracic muscles, intercostal nerves or costocondral articulations) can determine breast pain.
  3. Disturbance of fatty acids metabolism can affect the mammary gland sensitivity to circulating hormones).
  4. Drugs; certain hormonal products including combined oral contraceptives and infertility treatments, might have as side effect breast pain.
  5. Breast size: women with larger breasts are more prone to experience breast and back pain.
  6. Breast surgery; the scars associated with breast surgery may be associated with chronic breast pain.

Types of Breast Pain:

Breast pain can be classified as cyclical or non-cyclical.

Cyclical breast pain:

  • It is directly linked to menstrual cycle;
  • Breast sensibility is characteristic;
  • Affects both breasts;
  • Typically affects young women;

Non-cyclical breast pain:

  • It is unrelated with menstrual cycle;
  • Mastalgia can be intermittent or constant;
  • It can simultaneously or individually affect one or both breasts;
  • Older women are more prone to this type of pain;

Breast Tenderness Treatment:

For the most women, the pain reduces over time without specialty treatment. Your doctor will establish the cause for breast pain and eliminate the aggravating factors; in some cases, you may just need to wear a supporting bra, but in other cases only medication, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can control the pain. Certain topical products with or without hormones can be prescribed for symptom relief.  

Some remedies might help you with breast tenderness :

  • Use of hot or cold dressings on the chest;
  • Use of a supporting bra;
  • Experiment relaxation techniques for the control of anxiety associated with severe breast pain;

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