Breast pain is a common condition that affects about two thirds of women. It manifests itself differently in each sufferer, sometimes affecting only one breast, sometimes being chronic, or sometimes occurring only occasionally. Pain can range from a slight tenderness when touched to intense sensations of burning. Some women find that their everyday life is affected by this condition and seek ways to remedy it. However, with the vast number of possible causes, it can be difficult to know what the underlying reason actually is.
Hormonal imbalances are the most common cause of breast pain, responsible for around 75% of cases. The changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause soreness and inflammation in the breast tissue, and this normally occurs during a woman's period, pregnancy, or menopause. Although this type of pain can be annoying because it can occur at regular intervals, it does disappear when hormone levels are back to normal.
There are a number of medications that have been linked to breast pain, including birth control pills. Other common causes of breast pain are cardiovascular and psychiatric medications. Pain normally subsides soon after coming off these drugs, so if you do suffer from any of the conditions that require these pills, then it is important to ask your doctor about alternative treatments that do not cause breast pain.
Fibrocystic Breast Tissue
Fibrocystic breast tissue can sometimes be a source of worry, because it is characterized by lumps in the breast. However, fibrocystic breast tissue is not harmful, although it is a common cause of breast pain. They are benign lumps filled with fluid, and can sometimes be painful if they push on sensitive parts of the breast. Even if the cysts themselves are not painful, a change in size can often cause discomfort.
Any kind of breast surgery can cause scarring on the delicate tissues in the breast, and this is a common cause of breast pain in women who have undergone surgery. The pain can occur soon after or even a considerable amount of time after the operation. The effects are normally temporary, and a short course of painkillers will deal with the problem. However, if the pain becomes chronic, a conversation with your doctor is necessary.
There are a few common causes of breast pain, and most can be easily remedied, either through medications or lifestyle changes. Breast pain is very rarely a sign of something serious, but if chronic pain is affecting your life, a medical checkup is advisable to rule out any serious conditions, however unlikely. Talking to a doctor can also help you to get the help you need to alleviate the pain.
- Breast Cancer Care. (2013). Breast pain. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-information/benign-breast-conditions/breast-pain#noncyclical
- National Breast Cancer Foundation. (2012). Breast Pain. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-pain
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003152.htm