All About Breast Pain, The Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

All about breast pain, the causes, symptoms, and treatment
As defined by the Breast Cancer Foundation, any pain or discomfort in the underarm or breast area is referred to as breast pain. Also known as mastalgia, breast pain includes breast tenderness, a dull ache, a burning sensation in the breast tissue, and heaviness or tightness.

According to a study conducted by the California Pacific Medical Centre, 50 to 70 % of women in the country have breast pain caused by various reasons.

What are the common breast pain causes?
There are multiple situations or states of the body that trigger breast pains. A few such key factors or causes of breast pain are these:

  • Breast cysts
  • Chest wall pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Breast trauma
  • Breast cancer
  • Alcoholism with liver damage
  • Bornholm disease
  • Puberty
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Rib fracture
  • Shingles
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Trauma to the chest wall
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Angina
  • Herpes zoster
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Benign breast tumors
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical and thoracic spondylosis
  • Costochondritis
  • Cyclical breast pain
  • Diet, especially high intake of caffeine
  • Breastfeeding-related infections
  • Mastitis
  • Medications such as methyldopa, oxymetholone, chlorpromazine, spironolactone, and digitalis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Pericarditis
  • Pleurisy
  • Pregnancy

What are the types of breast pain?
Breast pain is categorized into two types:

Cyclical breast pains

  • Also known as cyclical mastalgia, this cyclical breast pain refers to the pain on the outer area of the breasts up to the armpits.
  • It is connected to the menstrual cycles of women and affects pre-menopausal women.
  • Cyclical breast pain is usually triggered two to three days prior to a period flow.

Non-cyclical breast pains

  • Non-cyclical mastalgia, or non-cyclical breast pain, is not influenced by menstrual cycles.
  • It is most commonly found among women aged between 40 and 50.
  • Along with breast tissue pain, non-cyclical breast pain expands to the chest, ligament, and the ribs.

What are the symptoms of cyclical breast pain?

  • Just like the menstrual cycles, the cyclical breast pain comes along with the menstrual periods.
  • It results in lumpy and swollen breasts.
  • Tender breasts is one of the prime characteristics of this type of breast pain.
  • Women feel burning, stabbing pain, a heaviness, and dull aches during cyclical breast pains.
  • Both breasts are affected, and the pain extends to the underarms.
  • This type of breast pain starts a few days prior to the menstrual periods and become intense during the first day of the menstrual periods.
  • It is most prevalent among younger women.

What are the symptoms of non-cyclical breast pain?

  • Single breasts are usually affected by non-cyclical breast pain.
  • It is triggered within a smaller section of the breast, and the pain gradually expands to the chest.
  • Non-cyclical breast pain is common among post-menopausal women.
  • Based on the specific cause, the pain can last for a shorter or longer duration.

What are the treatments for breast pain and its causes?

  • Cyclical breast pain can be treated with the help of OTC painkillers.
  • Breast pain causes can also be avoided by wearing rightly fitted clothes or loose clothes.
  • For clinically diagnosed breast pain causes, physicians provide specific medications based on the specific cause of breast pain.
  • Non-cyclical breast pain causes can be treated with various physical therapies.

When should one consult a physician?
One should visit a doctor immediately if they notice the following things:

  • A noticeable change in the way the nipples look
  • Breast skin is dimpling
  • Rashes being formed around the nipples
  • A noticeable change in the size of the breasts
  • Unnatural discharge from the breasts
  • Pain across the breasts and armpits at any time
  • A formation of lumps and swelling on the armpits

What are some of the self-help tips to avoid breast pain?

  • Wear a well-supported bra during the day and when sleeping at night.
  • Ensure to wear a sports bra during exercise.
  • Restrict the intake of coffee.
  • Quit smoking.

Today, breast pain is more common among the women of the country. Hence, it is suggested to see a doctor immediately in case of any discomfort.