7 Possible Causes of Your Breast Pain

Although it might not be related to a dangerous condition, if you’re experiencing breast pain it’s important that you visit your doctor. Read more here!
7 Possible Causes of Your Breast Pain
Diego Pereira

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Diego Pereira.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Most women will experience breast pain or tenderness in one or both 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. Although 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 decided to cover seven possible causes of 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 period.

  • 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. Breast cysts

Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in the breast tissues. 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’re a benign problem that can be treated with ease.

However, it’s important to visit your doctor early before they increase in size to the point that they’re extremely uncomfortable or visible.

3. Breast abscesses

A woman checking her breasts.
In some cases, feelings of heaviness or pain in the breasts may be due to an infectious condition known as an abscess.

Breast abscesses 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 consider seeking 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 pain alone could signal this disease. 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. Pregnancy: A possible cause of breast pain

A pregnant woman.
Due to the hormonal changes involved with pregnancy, it’s one of the major possible 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’s their first pregnancy or if they’re 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.

6. Breastfeeding

Although breastfeeding is a special time for a mother to bond with her child, pain and tenderness are unavoidable.

Regardless of whether a woman is breastfeeding or not, the elevated milk production and hormonal activity may cause uncomfortable pain.

In addition, when the breasts become dry or cracked, there’s potential for contracting a bacterial or yeast infection.

If the pain is regular and doesn’t improve with time, it’s important to consider talking with your doctor about the possibility of an infection.

7. Mastitis

A woman with mastitis.
Mastitis is an inflammatory condition that originates during lactation due to the obstruction of milk ducts.

Read more here: 6 Natural Treatments to Calm Mastitis

This situation can be triggered by a virus, bacteria, or fungal attack on the breast tissue, which in turn may initiate an inflammatory response.

The pain may be accompanied by symptoms that include:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • General discomfort

Did you already know about these possible causes of breast pain? As you can see, this is a delicate part of the body that can be affected by many factors.

Discuss your symptoms with your doctor if you suspect there’s a problem.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.