Breast pain can be very distressing and affects around two thirds of premenopausal women at some point in their lives. The pain can range from mild to severe, and the severe form can result in women being unable to enjoy everyday activities. As well as the effects of the physical pain, worries about why it is occurring can cause psychological problems, such as anxiety. Keep reading for more information about the probable causes of severe breast pain.
Hormonal imbalances can cause severe breast pain, and this can sometimes be cyclical in nature, meaning it occurs at predictable times; for example, many women suffer from painful breasts on a monthly basis as a result of having a period. Other times of life that can trigger hormonal changes are puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. The good thing about this type of breast pain is that it usually disappears after the hormone levels have evened out.
Many medications have been linked to severe breast pain, including birth control pills, which are taken by many women. Other culprits include diuretics and cardiovascular and psychiatric medications. The pain should subside once you stop taking these medications, so if you feel they are responsible for your severe breast pain, it is important to talk to your doctor, who might be able to organize alternative medications for existing conditions.
Fibrocystic Breast Tissue
These are benign lumps in the breast that are filled with fluid, sometimes resulting in severe breast pain. Even if the cysts themselves are painless, occasionally a change in size can cause discomfort of any degree. The cysts are generally not harmful, but if severe breast pain is affecting your daily life, it would be worth mentioning this to your doctor, who is in a position to deal with the problem based on your personal health history.
Previous breast surgery can result in severe breast pain, and this can occur soon after or a long time after the surgery. This is normally a result of trauma to the breast tissue or the surrounding areas. For some women, the pain is temporary, and a short course of painkillers will deal with the problem. However, if the pain becomes chronic, other medications and treatments might be necessary, in which case it is essential to seek medical advice.
Breast size can also be a problem for some women. Large breasts can be heavy and cause muscle trauma to the chest wall, resulting in severe breast pain. It is very important to wear a well-fitting bra to support the breasts if they are large, but if this does not help, a medical checkup might be necessary to check for other underlying problems.
Severe breast pain is not only terribly uncomfortable, but it can also be scary. Before allowing doubt and anxiety to set in, it is important to discuss any breast pain issues with a doctor, who will be able to check for underlying medical conditions. However, severe breast pain is very rarely life-threatening, and is only ever a sign of breast cancer in a tiny minority of cases, so excessive worrying is normally unwarranted.
- Breast Cancer Care. (2013). Breast pain. Retrieved September 10, 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 10, 2014, from http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-pain
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003152.htm