While breast pain is a common occurrence among many women, for most it will only happen intermittently - and can often even be predicted. For those less fortunate women who experience constant breast pain or tenderness, it can be distressing and difficult to manage. Chronic breast pain can occur for a number of different reasons, and so understanding what some of these are should help you when considering the best ways to address the problem.
Different Types of Breast Pain
Primarily, it is important to consider which type of breast pain you are experiencing. The condition can be categorized into three different groups, as follows:
Cyclical. Breast pain which is associated with the menstrual cycle.
Non-cyclical. Pain which has no correlation with the menstrual cycle.
Extra-mammary. Pain derived from outside of the breast.
Causes of Constant Breast Pain
Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing, if it is persistent there can be a multitude of reasons why. Unfortunately, some women have a genetic predisposition to certain problems that can cause chronic breast pain, and it can be necessary to make some adjustments in order to manage the disorder. Common reasons for constant sore breasts include:
Hormonal fluctuations. Throughout each woman's reproductive cycle, hormonal levels will change at different points.This can cause the composition of tissue in the breast to change, thereby causing tenderness and sometimes pain.
Pregnancy. Tender breasts is often an early indication of pregnancy. It is caused by an increase of blood flow to the breasts which can cause swelling and increased sensitivity. This is likely to persist for some time beyond the birth of the baby.
Mastitis. This occurs when bacteria is present within the milk ducts and causes an infection. It is most often seen in breastfeeding women, but can occur in other women if the nipple is cracked or injured.
Hormone replacement therapy. Similarly to the above, the hormonal implications during menopause can cause breast pain. In particular, women who choose to use HRT for more than six months might experience pain regularly.
Most instances of constant pain in breasts can be attributed to hormonal changes, and unfortunately there are a number of factors that have a significant influence on this aspect, many of which are unavoidable. Some women are also afflicted with congenital conditions which can cause pain and hypersensitivity. Unfortunately, in this case, it is difficult to treat the problem, and solely management techniques can be suggested.
Constant breast pain is not a chronic disorder, but it is undoubtedly a difficult problem to deal with, especially for those women whom experience it to such a degree that it affects their day to day life. Understanding why it might occur should be beneficial if you are concerned with regular pain, because you will become better equipped when it comes to deciding on which course of action to take.
- National Health Service UK. (2016). Breast pain. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC. Breast pain. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-pain
- Patel, P.P. et al. (2012). Accessory Breast Tissue. Eplasty. 12: ic5. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336208/