Women must give special attention to any symptom that affects their breasts. The breasts consist of glandular tissues, fat tissues, nerves, blood vessels, connective tissues, and lymph nodes. Any of these tissues may be affected, which can cause unexplained pain. There are various factors that can cause breast pain, including infection, clogged milk ducts, benign cysts or cancer. Medical consultation is important for proper treatment.
Burning sensation felt in the breasts can be mild to severe. Symptoms can occur a few days monthly or it can persist. It may be a harmless condition such as a benign (noncancerous) tumor or it may be due to a more serious condition. Therefore, unexplained breast pains must be evaluated by a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
A common cause of burning sensation in breasts is infection, causing mastitis. This condition occurs in breastfeeding mothers because suckling can cause damage to the skin around the nipples, which allows the entry of bacteria. Mastitis causes persistent burning sensation, which increases when babies are feeding. The pain is often accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, and fever. Breast infections may be treated with antibiotics, while symptoms are relieved with pain medications.
Nerve damage, or neuropathy, can cause burning sensation in breasts. Neuropathy may develop due to various disorders, such as uncontrolled diabetes, abnormal nerve function, or chemotherapy. Other symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and a tingling sensation in the breast. Nerve damage is often permanent but patients may be treated with pain relievers, medications that can slow down or reduce nerve damage, or some lifestyle changes.
Inflammatory cancer of the breast is a rare type of cancer that accounts for only 5% of breast cancers. Patients who develop this form of breast cancer experience a swelling of the breast, due to obstruction in the flow of lymphatic fluid in the lymph vessels of the breast. Aside from swelling, the breast becomes inflamed, leading to redness and burning sensation. The breast cancer often progresses rapidly and patients develop symptoms in a few weeks. Patients who experience burning sensation in breasts and swelling must seek medical attention immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
Hormonal fluctuations often accompany the menstrual cycle and this may be accompanied by the appearance of cysts and benign growths in the breasts. Some women experience burning pain in breasts before menstruation. Others notice this pain around the time of ovulation. Some women aged 30-50 years old experience the burning breast pain not related to the cycle. However, in some cases, it is difficult to identify what causes breast pain.
Pain around the breasts may not be related to the breast itself, but may be due to a sore pectoral (chest) muscle beneath the breast tissues. Straining this muscle during exercise or injuring it can cause a sharp burning sensation that can appear to be breast pain. Aside from muscle strain, pain may also be due to damage to the connective tissues that form part of the chest.
Clogged milk ducts can cause burning sensation in breasts. A breastfeeding mother may notice a red lump in the breast often accompanied by tenderness and a burning sensation. This condition develops when the milk does not drain sufficiently from the milk ducts. Clogged ducts that are left untreated may eventually lead to breast infection, which causes burning sensation in breasts.
Other causes of burning pain in the breast include stress, musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, back injury, and fatty acid imbalance in the cells. The use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can also cause breast pain because of the hormones they contain and the resulting hormonal imbalance.