Breast Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Procedure
Last Updated: Dec 28, 2021
What is the treatment?
Pain in the breasts can occur due to many different reasons. It may be related to your menstrual cycle and occur only during your period or right before it. It can occur during pregnancy and breast feeding, and can even be due to mastitis, which is an infection that occurs in the breasts when you are lactating. It could be a side effect of a medicine you are taking. Breast pain can be a sign of cysts in your breasts or any fibrocystic changes in your breasts. The condition can also occur due to costochondritis, which is a type of arthritis that occurs in the rib cage and breastbones. Breast pain can be a sign of breast cancer. Finally, it can also occur due to a poorly fitted bra.
Breast pain can be treated with the help of different types of medications, depending on what is causing the pain to occur in the first place. Sometimes, just the simple act of adjusting your birth control medications, or buying a bra that fits you better can eliminate the pain. Creams and ointments can also help, as do pain relievers. If you are currently going through a menopausal hormone therapy, then your doctor may advice you to adjust that in order to eliminate the pain in your breasts. Using a breast pump frequently when you are lactating to take away the pressure and fullness of your breasts can also help relieve some of the pain.
How can you tell the difference between Breast Pain and heart pain?
It is very common for women to confuse the symptoms related to a heart attack with Breast Pain. Hence, it is a serious concern among women as it is responsible for many deaths due to heart attacks. The symptoms related to a heart attack may include mild pain and burning-like pain in some cases and hence seem to be similar to Breast Pain. However, there are some symptoms to differentiate heart pain and Breast Pain which include pain in the left arm as well as neck or jaw, sweating, pressure in the chest, and difficulty in breathing.
Summary: Breast Pain and heart pain are similar and can be confused with each other. However, it can be differentiated by some of the symptoms including sweating, pressure in the chest, left arm pain, and difficult breathing.
What can cause Breast Pain?
Breast Pain is one of the most commonly occurring problems nowadays which occurs mostly in women of younger age group. It can be mild or severe. Some of the important causes for this include:
- Cancer of the breasts
- Changes in hormonal levels
- Occurrence of menopause
- Water retention during the menstrual cycle
- Side effects of certain medications
Summary: Breast Pain is a common health issue among women, mostly of younger age groups. It may be mild or moderate in nature and caused due to several reasons such as breast cancer of breasts, infection, injury, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc.
How is the treatment done?
In order to eliminate any underlying causes for breast pain, such as cancer, your doctor will first conduct a physical exam to check for lumps or any other worrying signs. A mammogram may also be conducted in order to gain a better look at your breasts and confirm the existence or non-existence of a tumor in the breasts. Sometimes, an ultrasound is also carried out along with the mammogram if you are experiencing pain in specific spots. Finally, the doctor may also conduct a biopsy to rule out any other worrying causes.
If you are breast feeding, your doctor will advise you to use breast pumps. The pumps come with a cup that fits over the nipple and is attached to a tube leading to a container. The container can be removed or changed as required. When the pump is used, it takes out milk from the breasts, significantly reducing the pressure and pain you may be experiencing.
If you are suffering from intense breast pain, your doctor may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) for topical use when the pain comes. Prescription medications for pain relief can also help you gain relief from the pain.
Adjustments to your existing medications can also help with the pain. Sometimes, breast pain occurs as a side effect to a drug you may be taking. Your doctor can substitute it for a different one or lower the dosage, as needed. Switching your birth control pills or skipping the pill-free week can also help you reduce the pain in your breasts. Alternatively, ensuring that you are wearing the correct bra for your body type can also help eliminate the pain altogether.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
If you are experiencing pain in your breasts on a regular basis, and the pain is not related to your menstrual cycle or pregnancy, you are eligible to seek out the treatment.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
If you are pregnant, you can expect a certain amount of tenderness or pain in the breasts as your pregnancy advances. If you are experiencing intense pain, however, then you should consult with a doctor to understand why and eliminate the pain. If you are suffering from breast cancer, then the treatments listed above may not be the most effective ones. You will have to see an oncologist in order to gain a more effective treatment plan.
Are there any side effects?
Prescription pain killers can make you drowsy, confused, and nauseous. Changing your birth control pills without consulting with your doctor can lead to side effects like changes in your menstrual cycle, acne, weight, body hair, and even pregnancy.
When you should be worried about Breast Pain?
Breast Pain, commonly referred to as mastalgia, is not a serious concern in most cases but it should not be ignored. In most cases, the cause may be non-cancerous or hormone-related and can be treated easily by consulting with a doctor. However, there are some conditions when it becomes a serious concern for the women and those conditions include:
- The presence of lump or mass in the particular area of pain which can be palpated as firm and hard is worrying and should not be ignored Nipple discharge is evident.
- When we notice redness, swelling, or inflammation in the breasts, accompanied by drainage.
- When the pain in the breasts is localized and not generalized.
- The pain keeps on increasing and getting worse.
- The pain and discomfort are inhibiting a woman’s daily work and activities.
Summary: Breast Pain is a common condition and can resolve easily in mild cases. However, it may be a serious concern if accompanied by symptoms like the presence of a lump in the breasts, discharge from the nipples, etc.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
There are no specific post treatment guidelines for breast pain.
How long does it take to recover?
It can take anywhere between a few hours to a few days to recover, depending on the reason you have breast pain in the first place.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Medications can cause anywhere between Rs. 50 and Rs. 200.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The results of the treatment are permanent.
What foods cause Breast Pain?
Breast Pain, being one of the common health problems nowadays, affects a considerable population among women. It may be serious in some cases. Some of the important factors for Breast Pain may include diet-related factors as well. Some of the food items which may cause Breast Pain include caffeine-rich foods or beverages, meals high in fat content, wine, cheese, and chocolate.
Summary: Breast Pain affects women mostly of younger age groups. It may be linked to dietary intake in some cases. Caffeine-rich foods, high-fat meals, cheese, and wine are some of the food items contraindicated in Breast Pain.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
There are certain home remedies that you can look at. Using evening primrose oil is one of them. This oil can help reduce the fatty acid content in your breasts, which can help eliminate the pain. Massaging the oil onto your breasts can help. You can also ask your doctor to give you vitamin E supplements. These supplements can help specifically in breast pain that is caused because of your menstrual cycle.
Conclusion: Breast Pain, being one of the common health problems nowadays, affects a considerable population among women. It may be serious in some cases. In most cases, the cause may be non-cancerous or hormone-related and can be treated easily by consulting with a doctor.
- Breast pain- Medline Plus, NIH, U.S. National Library of Medicine [Internet]. medlineplus.gov 2019 [Cited 18 July 2019]. Available from:
- Breast pain- Mayo Clinic [Internet]. mayoclinic.org 2019 [Cited 18 July 2019]. Available from:
- Breast Pain in Women- American Academy of Family Physicians [Internet]. familydoctor.org 2017 [Cited 18 July 2019]. Available from:
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