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Breast Pain
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Breast Pain

Breast Pain anatomy

Breast pain is a common symptom that can develop during the menopausal transition due to fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels. While postmenopausal women can experience breast pain, it is most common in premenopausal and perimenopausal women.

A common complaint, breast pain affects as many as 70% of women at some point in their lives. Only a small portion of these women, about 10%, will experience severe breast pain, which can negatively impact relationships, work, and daily life. Nevertheless, breast pain can prompt understandable questions and concerns at any intensity.

Understanding menopausal breast pain is one of the best steps toward managing this symptom. Read on to learn more about breast pain.

What is breast pain

About Breast Pain

Breast pain - known medically as mastalgia, mastodynia, and mammalgia - is the general term used to mean discomfort, tenderness, or pain in one or both of the breasts.

Breast pain is categorized as either cyclical or non-cyclical. With the former, breast pain is the result of hormonal changes, making it the most common kind of breast pain in pre- and perimenopausal women. Non-cyclical breast pain, more common in postmenopausal women, is not related to hormonal changes. Extramammary breast pain, which originates outside the breast, is a third type of breast discomfort.

Breast pain symptoms can vary depending on the type and the individual woman. Generally speaking, symptoms include tenderness, tightness, soreness, burning, swelling, dullness, and aching. Symptoms can be consistent or intermittent and may affect one or both breasts.

Symptoms of breast pain

Click here to learn more about breast pain, or read on to learn more about the causes of breast pain.

Non-cyclic Breast Pain: Important Things to Know

Breast pain is a common affliction among women of all ages, affecting some more frequently and severely than others. Women with large breasts may have noncyclic breast pain related to the size of their breasts. Sometimes, abscesses can cause soreness in a specific area, treatments will largely depend on the cause of your noncyclic mastalgia

All About Breast Muscle Pain

Breast pain that is a consequence of muscular damage is categorized as extra-mammary pain, meaning the pain in the breast actually originates from an outside area; in this case the pectoralis major muscle. It can also be referred to as "chest wall pain", because often causes pain in the chest wall or rib cage too.

Causes of Breast Pain

The most common cause of breast discomfort during menopause is hormonal change. As with all times of hormonal fluctuation, like menstruation and pregnancy, menopause can alter the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. As a result, women may develop breast pain.

Causes of breast pain

While hormones are the most common cause of breast pain experienced in menopause, other factors can cause or contribute to breast pain. These rarer causes range from serious health conditions to dietary issues.

  • Breast cysts
  • Breast trauma
  • Prior breast surgery
  • Breast size
  • Stress
  • Alcoholism
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Antidepressants
  • Mastitis
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Cholesterol and heart drugs

Click here to learn more about the causes of breast pain, or read on to learn more about when to speak with a doctor about breast pain.

Sharp Shooting Pain in Breast: Common Causes and Treatments

When a woman experiences sharp breast pain, it is only natural that a prime concern will be the possibility that it is caused by cancer. It is worth knowing then, that very few cases of this sort of pain can be attributed to the disease.

3 Unexpected Causes of Breast Pain

Breast pain affects most women and can have negative consequences on daily life. Many of the contributing factors are well-known, but there are some that might come as a surprise to learn. This article discusses some of the more unexpected causes of breast pain women may experience.

Breast Pain Diagnosis

Breast Pain Cancer

While breast discomfort during menopause is not usually cause for alarm, it is never a bad idea to consult a doctor about this symptom. Though breast pain is rarely indicative of cancer, speaking with a doctor to rule out breast cancer can greatly help allay these worries and help a woman determine the best way to manage breast tenderness.

Women who experience prolonged and unexplained breast pain or additional accompanying symptoms should speak with a doctor to rule out rare, but more serious, causes of breast pain. At a doctor visit, a full physical and clinical exam will be performed. If something more serious is suspected, a doctor may order additional tests.

Click here to learn more about breast pain diagnosis, or continue reading to learn more about the different breast pain treatments available.

Breast Self-Examination and Other Exams

Breast self-examination is commonly promoted for only those entering perimenopause. However, breast exams are important for all women to perform throughout all walks of life. Continue reading about varying self-examination techniques as well as other breast exams to take control of your health today.

Is Constant Breast Pain a Chronic Disorder?

Your physical condition can also impact on the comfortability of your breasts. Women who have a poor diet or do not take regular exercise can become overweight, which can lead to painful breasts among other health concerns. Fortunately, most of the time this issue can be rectified, and pain can be alleviated in the long-term.

Breast Pain Treatments

Fortunately, a number of self-care measures and natural treatments can help to relieve breast pain during menopause with little or no risk of side effects. Self-care can include regular exercise, massage, relaxation techniques, and avoidance of dietary and lifestyle triggers.

Treating breast pain

While these can help a woman reduce the severity of breast pain, they alone cannot solve the root problem of hormonal imbalance. Alternative therapies are safe and effective methods of relieving breast pain symptoms by targeting the root cause of hormonal imbalance. A majority of women find that a combination of self-care and natural therapies is the best way to address breast pain in menopause.

Experts recommend exploring medical options only after these other methods have failed to provide relief, because these are often more invasive and carry greater risks.

Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for breast pain, which begin with lifestyle changes, move onto alternative medicines, and finally, if those options don't seem to help, prescription medications. The most effective treatments for breast pain typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.

3 Common Medication for Breast Pain

If breast pain is not a common occurrence for you, but you do suffer from it sporadically, discomfort can often be eased quickly by taking an oral pain killer such as paracetamol or Tylenol. While these will not address the cause of the problem, they might be sufficient for occasional pain.

3 Tips to Treat Breast Pain

Breast pain has a variety of causes, and therefore there are a number of treatments that can be effective, depending on the contributing factors. This article lists some of the best tips for treating both cyclical and noncyclical breast pain that have proved effective for many women.

  • Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • National Health Service UK. (2014). Breast pain. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from
  • Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from
Breast Pain

General articles

Updated on Apr 25, 2017
Severe Breast Pain: Probable Causes
Severe breast pain affects the day-to-day functioning of many women owing to the physical and psychological problems that can ensue. There are many possible causes of this condition, but it is rarely serious. This article discusses some of the probable causes for severe breast pain and how to deal with it.
Updated on Mar 23, 2017
3 Daily Habits to Prevent Chest and Breast Pain
Chest and breast pain are conditions with a wide range of causes, but a few specific daily habits should reduce the likelihood of developing the conditions. This article discusses chest and breast pain in more detail and provides a list of daily habits to help prevent them.
Updated on Jan 03, 2017
Chest and Breast Pain: Symptoms
Chest and breast pain are two separate conditions that can sometimes go hand in hand, and in their more severe form, can affect the everyday life of middle-aged women. This article focuses on the symptoms of each condition, as well as when you should be worried.
Updated on Jul 11, 2016
Talking to Your Partner about Breast and Vaginal Pain
Breast and vaginal pain are distressing conditions on their own, but further anxiety can be added when trying to broach the subject with a partner. This article discusses why having this conversation is important and ways it can be made easier for both you and your partner.
Updated on Jan 04, 2016
Dietary Changes to Prevent Chest and Breast Pain
Chest and breast pain affects around 70% of women. The primary cause of breast pain is hormone fluctuations, but it can also be induced by poor diet. Simple dietary changes you can make to prevent breast pain include eating more greens - like kale and spinach - and avoiding fried foods.