Breast Pain - To Worry Or Not To Worry

Most women, at some time, experience breast pain. Otherwise known as mastalgia.

First things first, breast pain by itself is rarely caused by breast cancer! But if you have continuous pain and you are worried…..see a doctor. Better safe than sorry!

The most common form of breast pain is what’s known as cyclical pain. It is linked to your menstrual cycle and the craziness of your hormones each month. With this type of pain it is usually at its worst in the week prior to your period.

This type of pain in normally located in the upper breast area and spreading across to your underarm. It can effect both breasts but is normally only in one.

The pain can either be a short sharp jab or more of an ache. I know that’s not very specific! When I get breast pain it is normally in my left breast and I have to admit the first time it happened I though I was having a heart attack.….ok.….so I’m a hypochondriac!

The good thing with cyclical mastalgia is that it normally disappears after menopause or when you are pregnant.

On the down side…...there is a second type of breast pain and it is called non-cyclical breast pain.

It usually occurs in women over 50 who have already gone through menopause. This pain is described as more of a burning ache.

What to do about breast pain

1. Know your breasts – conduct a regular monthly self breast exam

2. Keep a record of when you have the pain, where it is and what it feels like. If you go to the doctor, she will ask these questions.

3. Make sure you have a Section targeting well fitting bra!

4. Some studies suggest that increasing your intake of vitamin A, B6 or E might help. Those same studies have suggested that a reduction in caffeine intake will help!

5. Regular breast massage will help to ease the pain and relax you.

If you go to the doctor, not only will she ask questions about the pain, she will also do a breast exam on you. She will be checking for breast lumps.

If you have breast lumps or fibrocystic breast condition then you will likely be sent for a mammogram, ultrasound or sonogram. Although as I mentioned breast pain alone is not a good indication of breast cancer.

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