Breast painsMedically termed mastalgia, breast pains are frequent problem with women of all ages. The intensity of pains ranges from mild to severe ones. if the severe pains persist, and disable normal every day activities the woman should consult the doctor for possible causes and treatment. During menstrual cycles, breasts are usually heavier and painful so this does not mean there is some underlying condition causing the pains. Every woman feels breast pains some time in her life. The warning sign should only be the persistent and severe pains. Pains do not necessarily mean that the breasts are affected with cancer.
SymptomsBreast pains can be divided into two categories: cyclic and noncyclic. Cyclic breast pains are characteristic for women in their 20s or 30s and sometimes for women prior entering menopause. These cyclic pains occur in the period prior to menstruation. Ten days before the menstrual period, a woman feels tension in the breasts and slight aching that intensifies gradually. Both breasts swell and feel lumpy when touched. The most painful part is the upper part of the breasts and the pain can spread to the underarm. On the other hand, noncyclic pains are not associated with menstruation. Sharp, burning pain can affect only one breast, or some part of the breast. It mainly happens to women in their 40s or 50s. The pain may be constant or occasional. There is extramammary breast pain that is felt in the breast but it comes from other parts of the body.
CausesCyclic breast pains can be ascribed to hormonal changes in the body. During menstrual periods the hormones may cause swelling and pains of the breasts. Hormone levels diminish during pregnancy and menopause, which contribute to the popular opinion of relation between hormones and pains. Pains are also likely to be the result of an injury or some specific trauma. Breast cysts or previous breast surgery can cause noncyclic breast pains. If a woman hurt some muscles in the chest the pain is felt in the breast. Heart conditions can induce pains in the breast too. Using the birth control pills or some hormone replacement therapies can trigger off the breast pains. Breast pains can also be related to some anti-depressants. Changes in the fatty acids in the breasts may be the reason for sensitive breasts. Some spinal disorders also affect breasts. Large and heavy breasts are likely to ache due to the pressure they inflict on the neck, shoulders and back. The inflammation of the breast tissues is manifested in the breast pains.