Most women will experience breast pain or tenderness in one of both of their breasts at some point in their lifetime.
This is a common symptom that can occasionally cause concern because many people associate it with breast cancer or inflammatory diseases.
In fact, this symptom may be related to multiple factors, and while you shouldn’t rule out these diseases it’s nearly always the product of hormonal changes.
Because so many people remain unaware of the causes, however, in today’s article we want to cover the seven main causes for breast pain.
Find out what they are!
1. Hormonal factors
Regular hormonal fluctuations are the main cause of breast tenderness and pain. When young women start their menstrual cycle they often experience pain in the days before their periods.
- It’s also common among those who suffer from premenstrual syndrome and irregular periods.
- In some cases, the pain may occur in the middle of the menstrual cycle, coinciding with ovulation.
- The use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy could be additional causes of this symptom.
2. Cysts in the breast tissue
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in the tissues of the breast.
They may occur when mammary glands increase in size, whether it’s due to hormonal changes or a problem with inflammation.
Although they may be visible or painful and even become confused with breast cancer, they are a benign problem that can be treated with ease.
- It’s important to visit your doctor early, however, before they increase in size to the point that they are extremely uncomfortable or visible.
3. Breast abscessesIn some cases, feelings of heaviness or pain in the breasts can be due to an infectious condition known as an abscess.
These are caused by a buildup of pus in the breast tissue, forming small lumps that can be painful when touched.
The primary cause is bacteria that enter the breast through the nipple or through the dry cracks that can form during breastfeeding.
- It’s important to seek medical attention because antibiotics are usually required to control the infection.
4. Breast cancer
Inflammation and pain in the breast tissue can be related to breast cancer, particularly when this symptom is recurring.
Although cancer is a possible cause, it’s rare that breast sensitivity is due to this problem, however.
Breast pain caused by cancer is a symptom that’s slow to appear while it develops.
When you experience pain due to breast cancer, therefore, chances are that you’ve already observed other symptoms related to this disease.
We recommend you read: Detecting breast cancer with a pill
5. PregnancyDue to the hormonal changes involved with pregnancy, it’s one of the major causes of breast pain. In fact, for most women, it’s one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy.
- Women tend to feel more sensitive when it is their first pregnancy or if they are younger in age.
- During the first trimester of pregnancy, breasts generally increase in size and in addition to pain you may notice small blue veins that indicate increased blood flow to the area.
Although breastfeeding is a special time for a mother to bond with her child, pain and tenderness is unavoidable.
Regardless of whether a woman is breastfeeding or not, the elevated milk production and hormonal activity will cause uncomfortable pain.
In addition, when the breasts become dry or cracked there is the potential for contracting a bacterial or yeast infection.
If the pain is regular and doesn’t improve with time, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of an infection.
7. MastitisMastitis is an inflammatory condition that originates during lactation due to the obstruction of milk ducts.
This situation can be triggered by a virus, bacteria, or fungal attack on the breast tissue, which in turn initiates an inflammatory response.
In addition to pain, it can be accompanied by symptoms that include:
- Feelings of fatigue
- General discomfort
Did you already know about these causes of breast pain? As you can see, this is a delicate part of the body that can be affected by a variety of factors.
Discuss your symptoms with your doctor if you suspect there is a problem.