It has been observed that almost 30 to 50% of all the women experience at least one episode of moderate to severe pain or tingling in the breast during entire lifetime. In most cases, the pain disappear gradually or incidentally without any management; however a small percentage develop persistent and long standing breast pain. Pain in the breast (also known as mastalgia in more scientific terms) may occur alone or may be associated with symptoms like swelling, lump, discharge, redness, edema and other similar features. Here are a few most common causes of tingling in the breast.
Following lists some of the most common causes of tingling sensation in the breast that may be associated with pain and other symptoms:
Hormonal changes during, before or after the menstrual period affects the tissue and fluid concentration of the breast tissue and may lead to pain, discomfort and feeling of heaviness in the chest. Same factors are responsible for pain in the breasts during pregnancy as a result of growth and development of glandular tissue of breast under the influence of estrogen and progesterone in an attempt to prepare the mammary glands for lactation.
Trauma or direct injury to breast tissue can also lead to pain and tingling sensation due to cyst formation, pressure changes as a result of inflammatory response or moderate to severe damage to the connective tissue or muscular elements of breast.
Various cosmetic procedures like breast reduction, breast augmentation and other reconstructive surgeries can lead to mild nerve damage as part of the procedure that may be transient in most cases; however, depending upon the degree of nerve damage, the symptoms may be permanent. Sometimes, the post-surgical inflammatory process can also lead to tingling sensation that may extend up to arm-pits, anterior chest wall or towards the shoulder region.
Nerve damage may be a consequence of severe trauma or penetrating injury to breast tissue, or iatrogenic injury during breast reconstructive surgery that may lead to abnormal sensations and burning and tingling sensation (that is most pronounced around nipples or areola).
Certain medications like anti-depressants are highly associated with the tingling or discomfort in the breast tissue due to aberrations in the hormonal concentration of some hormones. In addition, any other medication (like birth control pills, post- menopausal hormone replacement therapy) or any other hormonal agent may also induce pain and discomfort.
Common cold (especially during winter season) can lead to mild pain, tingling, discomfort and hyperesthesia that may be transient and is most commonly reported in women in their 30s.
Physiological or pathological changes in the anatomical composition or structure of breast can also lead to mastalgia; thereby producing the symptoms of hypersensitivity to touch, irritability and pressure symptoms in the breast.
Tumor growth inside the breast tissue can lead to appearance of a lump, edema of breast, thickening of overlying skin, involvement of surrounding lymph nodes, nipple inversion and discharge from the nipple that may be bloody or pus like. In certain situations, the first or primary symptom of breast cancer is tingling sensation due to Paget disease or metastasis of cancer cells to the nipple and skin, leading to severe and aggressive disease.
Costochondritis (refers to inflammation of the costal cartilages that connects rib to the axial skeleton) can also produce symptoms of pain, tingling, irritation and burning that may be severe depending upon the degree of inflammation.
Symptoms of tingling sensation in the breast are broadly classified as:
Cyclic symptoms as the name suggests are related to the menstrual cycles and have these characteristics:
The symptoms are not associated with menstrual cycle and may have an abrupt onset. In addition, cyclical variations in the intensity of pain is also absent. Other important features include:
Tingling in the breast may be managed by lifestyle modifications and other simple behavioral changes. If you are experiencing mild and occasional tingling in the breast, you may employ these home remedies for quick relief: