Breast Pain - Symptoms and Causes

Breast pain is often mistaken for menstrual cramps or pregnancy symptoms. In reality, breast pain is a very common symptom. Understanding its causes and distinguishing it from other conditions can help you get the support you need.

Breast pain affects over 50% of women at some point during their life. It is usually caused by a combination of hormonal changes, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. The pain may last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Breast Pain - Symptoms and Causes
Breast Pain – Symptoms and Causes

(1) Many women experience painful periods in their 20s, then suffer through menopause without addressing the underlying cause. Women with a history of chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, migraines, or arthritis, should see a doctor to determine whether they are experiencing secondary symptoms from those conditions.

(2) Hormonal imbalances also play a role in breast pain. For example, high estrogen levels may increase sensitivity to touch or pressure. When hormonal levels drop after stopping birth control pills or going off birth control altogether, may become sore breasts due to lower levels of progesterone.

(3) Breast tenderness may also occur with pregnancy. Pregnant women typically experience pain during contractions (which can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours). This type of discomfort is normal and usually goes away within 24 hours after delivery.

(4) Breast pain may also be caused by infection. If you notice swelling around the nipple pain area or a red rash, call your doctor immediately.


The most common breast pain symptom is a lump in the breast. A lump may feel like a hard mass or it may be soft and move freely within the breast tissue. If you notice any changes in the size or shape of your breasts, you should speak to your doctor.

Symptoms of Breast Pain

The most common symptom of breast pain is tenderness. Other symptoms include swelling, redness, and warmth.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Breast pain is often caused by breast lumps, but it could also be due to other causes like infection, inflammation, fibrocystic disease, cysts, abscesses, tumors, or trauma. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

Signs and symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare form of breast cancer that affects only women. It usually starts in the lymph nodes under the arm pit. The tumor spreads through the skin and into the underlying tissue. IBC most often occurs in younger women who have never had children.

Change in size shape or feel of your breast

The most common cause of breast pain is fibrocystic disease, which affects one in 10 women. It’s caused by fluid retention in the breasts due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause and after childbirth. Other causes include infection, inflammation, cysts, tumours and injury.

Extramammary breast pain

The most common cause of extramammary breast pain is fibrocystic disease (FBD). It occurs when the breasts become swollen due to fluid retention. This causes tenderness and lumpiness. Other causes include infection, trauma, pregnancy, and lactation.

When to see a doctor

If you experience chest pain that lasts longer than 3 weeks, you should seek medical attention. It may be due to a number of different causes including cysts, fibrocystic disease, mastitis (an infection), ductal ectasia (a condition where the milk ducts become dilated) or cancer.

Causes of Breast Pain

The most common cause of breast pain is fibrocystic disease (FBD). This condition occurs when the breasts become swollen due to fluid retention. It usually affects women between 20 and 40 years old.

Breast Related Causes

The most common breast pain symptom is a lump in the breast. A lump may feel like a hard mass or it may be soft and move freely within the breast tissue. If you notice any changes in the breast (such as nipple discharge) or if the area feels sore or painful, contact your doctor immediately. You could have breast cancer or another type of breast problem called a breast abscess.

Risk factors

The risk factors for breast pain include pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, hormone levels therapy, previous breast surgery, family history, and genetics.

Heading: Diagnostic tests

Output: A physical examination will rule out other causes of breast pain. Imaging tests may be needed if the diagnosis isn’t clear from the exam. Mammography is used to screen women who aren’t at high risk of developing breast cancer cells. Ultrasound is used to evaluate cysts and masses. MRI scans can detect tumors and guide biopsies.


The best way to prevent breast pain is by avoiding pregnancy. If you’ve already had kids, it may take several months before you feel comfortable having another child. Some women find they experience painful periods again after giving birth.


The best treatment for breast pain depends on its cause. If it’s caused by a cyst, then draining it will usually relieve the symptoms. If it’s caused from inflammation, then anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen may help. If it’s caused due to infection, then antibiotics may help.


The most common cause of breast pain is fibrocystic disease (FBD). This condition affects women of all ages and may cause tenderness, lumps, cysts, or fluid retention in the breasts. It’s usually not serious but it can be painful.

Is breast pain a sign of breast cancer?

Breast cancer patients may experience a lump in the breast area. A breast exam may help detect breast cancer early before it spreads throughout the body.

Why do you feel breast pain during pregnancy?

You may feel pain and tenderness in your breasts during pregnancy.

Are there different types of breast pain?

Cyclic breast pain is a common problem among young women because of hormonal changes. It usually starts a week before menstruation and lasts about a week. After menopause, cyclic breast pain doesn’t occur anymore.Breast cancer is a common disease among older women. Noncyclic breast pain is an early symptom of breast cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Español (Spanish): Breast pain can be a sign of cancer. If you notice anything unusual about yourself or your breasts, be sure to tell your doctor right away. There are many different types of breast cancer and each type may cause different symptoms. Your doctor should examine your breasts carefully and feel them to make sure there are no lumps or other changes.

He or she may also ask questions about your medical history. You may need tests such as mammograms or MRIs to help diagnose breast cancer.Breast cancer is when cells grow out of control in the breasts. These cells can spread to other parts of the body. When this happens, it is called metastasis. Symptoms include lumps in the breast tissue, pain in the breast, and changes in the size or shape of the breast. A woman should go to the doctor if she notices any of these symptoms.

What’s Causing My Left Breast Pain?

Left breast pain is usually caused by an issue with your breasts. Your doctor may want to check if there is anything wrong with your breasts before looking into other causes of breast pain. Breast cancer is always a possibility, but most women who experience this type of pain do not have cancer. Other possibilities include cysts or fibrocystic disease.

What causes cyclical breast pain?

Women who experience cyclical breast pain may have an unusually sensitive breast tissue. This condition does not require treatment. Breast pain is not caused by a disease or a problem in the breast itself, nor is it associated with any other breast conditions. There is nothing to do about this condition except try to ignore it.

By Lee Chen

Note: You should always be consulting a medical professional for medication recommendations. This article is in no way medical advice or prescription. Many over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen and home-remedies can help you in breast pain. Furthermore, you can also opt for using a supportive bra that aids you. Normally, these medications are more than sufficient in treating breast pain, however, if the pain continues, you should seek immediate medical attention.