It is said that 70 percent of women will experience breast pain at some point in their lives, from the onset of breast lumps, pain, soreness, and shifts in size or shape.1 However, the onset of pain in only the left breast may leave some women wondering what's going on.
Continue below to learn more about left breast pain, including its possible causes and how to deal with it, so that you can go forth with heightened knowledge about your reproductive health.
About Breast Pain
To begin with, breast pain - medically referred to as mastalgia, mastodynia, or mammalgia - is characterized by a burning, tightness, dullness, soreness, or sharp pain in the left, right, or both breasts.
Left breast pain is just that, pain in or under the left breast that does not affect the right side, causing discomfort in the outer quadrant, nipple, or surrounding areas.
Also, similar to general breast pain, pain affecting only the left breast is often described as either cyclical or non-cyclical.
Cyclical pain comes and goes at regular intervals, usually in conjunction with the menstrual cycle, while non-cyclical pain is discomfort that may be slightly intermittent, but generally prolonged over a stretch of time.
Left Breast Pain Causes
It is unknown why one breast may hurt more than the other, but pain in the left or right breast can be triggered by the same underlying factors and is generally not a cause for alarm.
More often than not, one of the most common causes of breast pain - particularly cyclical breast pain - is due to fluctuating reproductive hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone, during the menstrual cycle and other significant periods of hormonal change, such as pregnancy and menopause.
Other non-cylical left breast pain causes include, but are not limited to:
- Left breast trauma
- Breast surgery
- Fatty acid imbalance
- Milk duct or breast infections
- Hormone therapies
- Oral contraceptives
While any sort of breast pain - left, right, or both - is common and does not usually indicate breast cancer, talking to and getting examined by your doctor will rule out any more serious issues. In fact, breast lumps signaling cancer are usually painless, which is why regular checkups are so important.2
Dealing with Pain in Left Breast
Women looking for a long-term solution may want to try more comprehensive treatment options. Find specific information concerning treatments for breast pain by clicking on the previous link.
- American Cancer Society. (2018). Breast Cancer Symptoms: What You Need to Know. Retrieved January 14, 2020 from https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/breast-cancer-symptoms-what-you-need-to-know.html
- Mayo Clinic. (2017). Breast pain: Symptoms & causes. Retrieved January 14, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20350423
- NHS. (2017). Breast pain. Retrieved January 14, 202 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-pain/
- The Journal of Breast Health. (2016). Retrospective Analysis of Women with Only Mastalgia. Retrieved January 14, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5351439/
- National Breast cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Breast Pain. Retrieved January 14, 2020 from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-pain/