Breast Pain (Mastalgia)

Women with hand over breast because of breast painThe medical term for breast pain is mastalgia. There are many possible causes for mastalgia.

Any direct injury or blow to the breast may cause bruising and pain.

Many women experience painful tender breasts for a few days before each menstrual period. If this becomes a significant problem, medications are available to ease the discomfort.

In early pregnancy, one of the first signs of the pregnancy, other than missing a menstrual period, may be unusually sore and enlarged breasts.

The hormonal disturbances of the menopause may over stimulate breast tissue to cause varying soreness. In the same way, excess oestrogen in hormone replacement therapy or the contraceptive pill will have the same effect.

Infections in the breast (mastitis), particularly during breastfeeding, will cause hard, tender, painful, red lumps. If left untreated, an abscess may develop in the breast tissue.

Breast cancer may present as a painful lump in the breast, but sometimes there may be a firm painful area behind the nipple, with virtually no lump that can be felt. Large breasted women may not be able to feel a cancerous lump, but may experience pain on pressing on the affected area.

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