Breast pain (mastalgia) is a common health issue and about up to 70% of woman faces it at some point in their lifetime.
It is most common in 15 to 45 years old women and in premenopausal and perimenopausal women.
Most women often tell its location upper outer part of the breast, and sometimes in the arm on the same side as the breast.
It may interfere with women’s quality of life, and about one-third of women seek medical help due to fear of serious medical issues like breast cancer.
Mastalgia also occurs in men, due to several reasons like in women, where pregnancy and medical issues its one of the reasons (3)
The pain occurs from mild to severe, and you might see other symptoms of breast pain, like soreness, lumps, swelling, etc.
If you experience frequent BP, then you should talk to the doctor, which will diagnose and then consider treatment, according to the cause.
10 Unexpected Reasons For Breast Pain
In most cases, it is allied with menopause and the menstrual cycle, but there are several other reasons for unexpected breast pain including:
Hormonal changes occur due to several reasons in women, including during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and breastfeeding (4)
If hormones are disturbed for any reason, it increases the sensitivity and pain of breast tissue.
For example, increased estrogen and progesterone hormone levels during pregnancy, but a decrease during periods leads to soreness.
During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Of course, during pregnancy breast pain is most common, and an early sign of pregnancy, due to hormonal disturbance.
This leads to increase circulation to the breast tissue, causing large and sensitive breasts, resulting in pain and discomfort, even touching lightly (6)
During pregnancy, your milk duct for breastfeeding after delivery also prepares, as hormones promote the growth of the milk-production gland.
That’s why it makes vital to wear a supportive bra, that will help the breast to reduce tenderness and discomfort (7).
If you facing breast pain during breastfeeding, then it may be a blocked milk duct known as a “plugged or clogged” milk duct.
Research evidence shows that approx two-thirds of breastfeeding women experience blocked ducts issue (8).
Most blocked ducts issue resolve within 1–2 days, with or without treatment, if you still facing it, then you should talk to your doctor (9).
BP is mostly associated with the menstrual cycle, because of hormone changes, which are often allied with breast tenderness, and soreness.
Studies tell that 4 to 5 days before menstrual flow, the blood flow is increased by up to 25% to the breast leading to Breast tissue tension, tightness, and discomfort.
Periods are essential for women to start their reproductive systems and after every 28 to 32 days unfertilized eggs need to come out.
As we know, the menstrual cycle is a painful situation, which occurs till your menopause.
But during this long-time period, there are several things, tips or tricks, and home remedies that reduce pain, which may be very helpful.
Cancer Might be a Reason
Studies have shown, that In the majority of cases, breast pain is not a sign of breast cancer, but still recommends early diagnosis (11)
Even, though several studies reveal that BP is not a sign of breast cancer, its often caused by injury, surgery, infection, etc.
But it is important to be aware of changes in breasts including size, pain, and discomfort, then talk to your healthcare provider.
There are several other signs of BC including:
- Change in breast size and shape
- feel irritable, burning, itching, increased sensitivity
- skin dimpling
- constant pain in part of the breast or armpit (12)
- swelling in the part of the breast
- skin appearance changes like – redness, discoloration, or mild flaking of the nipple skin
- a nipple that turns inward
- unexplained weight loss
- discharge from the nipple
- digestive issue
So it’s vital to get frequent screening, and if you notice any discomfort or any changes in your breast then should contact a doctor.
Women who go under breast surgery, about most of the women experience breast side pain, even for weeks or months (13)
Surgery leads to changes in the anatomical structure like others including breast trauma, and injury, and the overall develop mastalgia (14)
This pain, generally occurs due to stretching, damage of breast tissue, nerves, and scars (15)
Medications Side Effects
Yes, certain medication consumption for long-time leads to breast pain and other health concerns.
Studies have shown that certain medicines (17) such as:
- hormonal pills birth control pills,
- oral contraceptive pills (OCPs)
These common medications may be allied with breast pain and other health issues (18) like:
- Nausea and vomiting
- change in appetite
- allergic reactions
- disturb sleep pattern
- dry mouth
- high blood pressure
- change in mood
Breast injury leads to breast pain, through include accidents, and sports-related injuries, this injury range can be mild to severe pain (19)
Mastalgia is also allied with breast injury, surgery, infection, and solid breast lump, and pain is described as sharp and burned (20).
So consult the doctor, if you feel pain for weeks or months, then consult the doctor, immediately because it may become a serious issue.
Maybe an Unsupportive Bra
Yes, of course wearing an uncomfortable Bra can cause breast pain, and other breast-related issues irritation, rashes, and redness.
So make sure, to choose a bra according to your breast size, and more stretchable, which compresses pain to an extent level.
If you still experience pain, after wearing a comfortable bra, then you should consult the doctor, it may be some other issues (21)
Generally, avoid too tight bra, and too loose to prevent breast pain.
There are some medical conditions, which lead to breast-related issues like breast pain (22) including:
It is a swelling of the breast tissue, resulting in mastalgia, and redness, and it commonly happens in breastfeeding women (23)
Mastitis is caused by infections that enter the breast tissue, and redness, warmth, swelling, and breast pain are its most common signs.
It is a condition, where breast tissue becomes dense, with cysts, and more lymph than in normal conditions, leading to breast pain.
Fibrocystic breast happens due to hormonal imbalance, during the menstrual cycle, however, its specific reason is unknown (24)
In this condition, inflammation occurs, but on the ribs that are connected to the breast bone, leads to breast pain (25)
This condition is not directly linked to breast pain, but it may happen due to an accident, or injury on the ribs, leading to swelling.
Certain studies have shown caffeine beverages, fatty diet, alcohol, and smoking consumption plays a role in developing breast pain.
Caffeine intake time can also disturb sleep and the time of taking it should also be according to the condition like.
Like before exercise is considered good, it suggests 30 to 45 minutes before a workout.
Make sure, to avoid excessive use of coffee, because it may occur have side effects and pregnancy-related issues (26)
Mastalgia is a common condition among women, and most women face it during menopause and the menstrual cycle.
There are several reasons for BP like hormonal changes, pregnancy, menopause, medication, injury, surgery, etc.
If you experience frequent mastalgia, then you should consult your healthcare provider, it may be some other health issue.