7 Possible Causes of Breast Pain

There are many possible causes of breast pain that you may be going through. It may be something not so serious, but it's important to be familiar with all of them.
7 Possible Causes of Breast Pain
José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli

Reviewed and approved by the doctor José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Many women relate breast pain to breast cancer, which causes them to get worried. Nonetheless, most cases of breast pain are not related to this disease. That’s why it is good to know about other possible causes of breast pain.

Most women tend to have breast pain at many times in their lives. That’s because it’s a common symptom of hormonal changes from menstruation or pregnancy. Inflammation and sensitivity in your breasts or during your period are very common. They’re probably not related to anything serious and can simply happen due to a hormonal change.

If you don’t find abnormalities when doing a self breast exam, but you experience frequent pain, there may be other reasons why your breast hurt. Next, we’ll tell you about the most common causes of breast pain.

Hormonal causes of breast pain

In general, teenagers that just started their menstrual cycle tend to feel a certain pain in their breast. PMS can even cause pain before menstruation.

Many women suffer from breast pain during their fertile years. It’s more frequent halfway through their menstrual cycle, coinciding with ovulation and the days before menstruation. These two cycle phases also come with more sudden change in feminine hormone levels.

Also, the use of anti-contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy can be other common causes of breast pain.

Read also:

6 Menstrual Irregularities You Shouldn’t Ignore


Pregnant woman

One of the first symptoms of pregnancy is breast pain. A woman tends to experience more sensitivity when they’re pregnant at a young age or during their first pregnancy. Generally, during the first trimester of pregnancy they experience pain, their breasts grow, and blue veins become visible due to an increase in blood flow.


When a woman has just had a child, she’ll tend to experience breast pain, whether she chooses to breast feed or not, due to the milk production. But you should pay special attention if the pain is frequent, intense, or doesn’t improve, because it can indicate possible mastitis.


Woman touching her breasts

This problem is an inflammation of the breasts, which comes from the obstruction of the milk ducts. This happens due to an infection in the breast, caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. The symptoms that you should be aware of are a red color in the breasts, pain, and especially fever.

Breast cysts

Breast cysts are a type of sack filled with liquid that form inside the breasts. These appear when normal mammary glands increase in size. These cysts tend to be benign and they can be a cause of breast pain. When they’re big, you can probably feel them by touching them, but you may require a mammogram or a sonogram to detect others.

Breasts abscesses

Breast abscesses are accumulations of pus in the mammary tissue. Basically, it’s an infection. This problem can produce breast pain. They may feel like soft bulges and usually appear when bacteria that enter the breasts through cracks in the nipples or from breastfeeding problems.

Regardless of their cause, the best idea is to consult a doctor so they can do the necessary exams and offer the proper treatment.

Breast cancer

Woman touching her breasts to detect possible causes of breast pain

As we mentioned in the beginning, many women tend to relate breast pain with breast cancer. However, this generally isn’t the case. Breast pain is one of symptoms that takes the longest to appear when you’re suffering from breast cancer.

It’s possible that if a women detects any abnormalities in their breasts and treats it on time, they won’t feel any breast pain from cancer.

Recommendations for preventing and treating breast pain

Generally, it isn’t necessary to take medications to relieve breast pain. What you can keep in mind is that there are some lifestyle changes you can do to help treat and prevent this problem.

  • Avoid wearing bras that are too small.
  • Have a healthy diet that’s low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Keep a balanced weight because it’ll help stabilize your hormone levels.
  • Increase your consumption of vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B1 (thiamine), and vitamin E.
  • You can apply home remedies for pain like water, lemon juice, vinegar, or coffee compresses.

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.