Home > Health Library > Breast Pain (Mastalgia)
Many women have breast tenderness and pain, also called
mastalgia. It may come and go with monthly periods (cyclic) or may not follow
any pattern (noncyclic).
Breast pain can get worse with changes in your hormone levels or
changes in the medicines you are taking. Stress can also affect breast pain.
You are more likely to have breast pain before menopause than after
Breast pain is not a common symptom of
breast cancer. But in some cases painful lumps are
caused by breast cancer.
You may be able to relieve breast pain by using nonprescription
medicines. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
If breast pain becomes severe or lasts longer than 3 weeks, call your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
If you are
pregnant or trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before using any
medicine. Do not take aspirin if you are younger than 20
because of the risk of
Danazol and tamoxifen citrate are prescription
medicines used for the treatment of severe cyclic breast pain. These medicines
are rarely used because they have significant side effects. It is important to
determine whether the benefits will outweigh the risks of taking these
You may also be able to relieve breast pain by:
Some women feel they have less breast pain when they
decrease the amount of caffeine they consume.
You may be able to prevent breast pain, tenderness, or discomfort
by wearing a sports bra during exercise. It is important that the sports bra
fit properly. It should keep the breasts almost motionless and allow them to
move together with the chest, not separately. It is important to replace your
sports bra as the material stretches and become less supportive. A young woman
with developing breasts may need to buy a new bra every 6 months.
August 16, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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