Expert Talk: Suffering From Breast Pain? 6 Possible Causes Behind It

Breast pain, medically called mastalgia can be caused due to several factors. Here's what the experts say. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Jul 15, 2022Updated at: Jul 15, 2022
Expert Talk: Suffering From Breast Pain? 6 Possible Causes Behind It

Breast pain, medically termed mastalgia, is a common problem. There are several possible causes such as hormonal fluctuations, poor bra fit, injury, and infections. Breast pain might range from mild to severe depending on the cause. This kind of pain can be either cyclic or noncyclic. Cyclic means that the pain triggers in a regular pattern. Noncyclic pain is constant and there is no specific pattern to it. Breast pain is mostly easy to diagnose and treat. But in some cases, it can be a warning symptom of a serious condition. Breast pain is not limited to women, and can occur in men who have gynecomastia, and in transgender people who are undergoing gender reassignment. To get more insights, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Lalit Sharma, Medical Oncologist, Manipal Hospitals, Jaipur. 

Possible causes of breast pain 

1. Breast injury 

breast pain

Breast injury, or trauma can cause pain in a specific part of your breast. A surgery or getting breast implants can cause breast pain. In these cases, a breast injury can lead to swelling and formation of blood clots in the breast vein. It can be painful, but is often not serious. Breast injury causes sharp, shooting pain during the time of injury. 

2. Hormonal changes 

Hormonal changes are one of the most common causes of breast pain. Breasts can become painful 3-5 days before you start menstruation and the soreness might stop after it begins. Hormonal fluctuations cause breast pain because there is an increase in oestrogen and progesterone hormones just before your period. These hormones make breasts swollen and tender. 

Also read: 10 Effective Home Remedies To Ease Breast Tenderness

3. Breast cancer

Although breast pain is not a common symptom of breast cancer, it is advised to rule out the cause. If a person is having sore breasts with other changes, such as appearance of lumps, skin discolouration or discharge, it is best to consult a doctor. It is highly unusual for breast cancer to cause pain, but is not an impossible occurrence. Such aggressive symptoms mostly occur suddenly and might worsen rapidly. Therefore, if you  are worried about inflammatory breast cancer, speak to your doctor immediately. 

4. Unfit bra 

An unfit bra is also another possible cause of breast pain. If there is no proper support, ligaments that connect breasts to the chest wall can get stretched and result in pain by the end of the day. An improper fitting bra can lead to sore breasts. The pain can shoot up during exercise. Hence, you should always buy the correct size, so that it can provide proper support through any activity. 

5. Fibrocystic breast changes 

Fibrocystic breast means having a lump in the breast. It is mostly harmless but can cause uncomfortable symptoms that lead to lumpy breasts or a change in texture because of hormonal fluctuations. Fibrocystic breast disease is the most common kind of noncancerous breast disease. To treat the condition, fluid is drained from the cyst. However, if the cyst is not bothering you, you may not need treatment. 

Also read: Breast Pain Should Not Be Avoided, Know These 10 Common Causes Leading To Breast Pain

6. Breast infection 

Breast infection or mastitis can occur at any age, but is most common in women who are breastfeeding. If clothes rub against your nipples, it can cause irritation, which also paves a way for bacteria to enter, eventually leading to infection. A yeast infection of the breast called thrush can also cause stabbing, shooting, or a burning sensation in your nipples. It can be accompanied with other symptoms, including redness, or dry and flaky skin.

When should you worry? 

Breast pain in either or both of your breasts is not a direct symptom of breast cancer, unless there are other accompanying symptoms such as discharge, lumps, and skin discoloration.  Breast tenderness and other discomfort can occur due to a number of factors.  Thus, it is essential to know when one needs to worry about breast pain. Although most of the cases of breast pain are not severe, it is still important to talk to a doctor about any queries or concerns. Dr. Sharma said that if you have persistent breast pain, it should be examined, to know about the exact cause.