Why Do My Breasts Hurt?

Overview of Breast Pain

Breast pain is common among women, and they may experience symptoms differently. Some women's breasts hurt around the time they are about to have their period, while others feel pain throughout the cycle. Older women may experience breast pain after menopause and it may be described as a localized pain. It can also be a sharp burning pain, although some feel a certain tightness or tenderness. Although most cases are not cancer-related, one should consult a physician when the symptoms are persistent, especially in postmenopausal women.

Cyclic or Non-Cyclic Breast Pain

Many cases of pain in the breast are cyclic, although others are not related to the menstrual cycle. Here's how to distinguish between the two.

Many young women experience breast pain within two weeks before their menstrual period and this may or may not occur with every cycle until they undergo menopause. However, this type of cyclic breast pain usually wanes after their period. They may feel some lumps or swelling in their breasts during this stage of the cycle and these, too, may disappear with the pain after their period. The pain is usually described as a dull, aching or heavy feeling which affects both breasts, particularly the upper and outer parts. The pain may radiate towards the underarms and increase in intensity towards the start of the menstrual period.

On the other hand, breast pain that is not related to the menstrual cycle might occur either intermittently or constantly and may be described as tightness or a burning soreness. This is usually experienced by postmenopausal women in one of their breasts. The pain may be localized in a small area, although some feel a diffuse type of pain.

Causes of Breast Pain

It is difficult to pinpoint the main cause of breast pain, but it may be due to one or a combination of these factors:

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, breast pain disappears after a period or within a few months. Few women will need specific treatment and home remedies are often sufficient to relieve these pains. You may try:

Breast pain is not a common symptom of breast cancer, but you should consider seeking medical advice if:

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