Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Breast Pain in
Breast pain is a common problem in younger women
who are still having periods (menstrual cycles). It is less common in older
women. The pain can be in one breast or in both. It may come and go each month,
or it may last for several weeks, or even months.
What causes breast pain?
Many things can cause pain or tenderness in your
breasts. Here are some of them:
- Hormone changes during your period
- Water retention, which may happen during your
- Injury to your breast
- Breast-feeding (nursing)
- An infection in the breast
- Breast cancer (not a usual cause of breast pain)
If you have breast pain that
lasts for a long time or keeps coming back, it's probably a good idea to talk to
your doctor about it.
How can my doctor find the cause of
my breast pain?
Your doctor will ask you questions to find the
cause of your pain and decide if you need treatment. He or she may ask you to
describe the pain and where in your breast area you feel it. Your doctor
will also check to see if you have lumps in your breasts.
If you're younger than 35 years of age and don't
have a breast lump, your doctor might decide that you don't need any tests. If
you're older than 35 years of age and don't have a breast lump, your doctor may
still want you to get a mammogram. A mammogram is a special x-ray of the
If you do have a lump (or several lumps) in your
breast, your doctor might decide that you need one or more of these tests:
- A mammogram
- A breast sonogram. This painless test uses sound
waves to make a picture of the lump.
- A breast biopsy. For this test, some tissue is
taken out of your breast and looked at under a microscope.
How is breast pain
There are different treatments for breast pain
depending on what is causing it. You and your doctor can talk about these
treatments and choose one or more that might work for you. Here are some
possible treatments for breast pain:
- Wearing a support bra
- Taking an over-the-counter pain medicine
- Taking evening primrose oil
- Taking danazol (brand name: Danocrine) -- for
treatments for breast pain are sometimes used. However, there is no proof
that these treatments work:
- Avoiding caffeine
- Using less salt
- Taking vitamin E or vitamin B6
- Taking a "water-pill" (a diuretic)
Most of the time, breast pain
goes away on its own after a few months.