Breast Pain

breast pain

Most women develop breast pain at some stage in life. In most cases the pain develops in the days just before a period, which is cyclical pain. In few the pain is not unrelated periods which is non cyclical pain.

Cyclical breast pain

Cyclical breast pain is very common. It does not occur in women past the menopause .symptoms are mild in most casesi.e .breast discomfort for a few days before a period. However, in some pain can be severe/or last longer  up to 1-2 weeks before a period. Typically, the pain affects both breasts,breasts may also feel more swollen and lumpy.This lumpiness is generalised with no  single definite lump forming. This swelling and lumpiness improve soon after period starts.

What are the treatment options for cyclical breast pain?

  1. No treatment may be needed if the symptoms are mild.If the pain is more severe, or for the times when it may flare up worse than usual, treatment options include the following:
  2. Wear a well supporting bra when you have pain. It is best to avoid underwired bras. Wear a sports bra when you exercise.
  3. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  4. Topical (rub-on) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)..
  5. The contraceptive pill, some antidepressants and some blood pressure drugs may make cyclical breast pain worse. Discuss this with your doctor.
  6. Hormone blocking drugs such as danazol, bromocriptine, tamoxifen can be used.Significant side-effects are common with these drugs. So, unless you have severe pain which occurs during most months and other treatments are ineffective, these drugs should not be used.

Noncyclical breast pain

This type of breast pain is not related to periods and is most common in women aged over 40. Pain can be present all the time, or come and go in a random way. The pain may be in just one breast, and may be localisedtoan area in breast .Reasonof this pain is unknown in most cases, however in few cases it might be due to,muscular or bony problems of the chest wall  or Infection .Breast tumours, cancer are very rare cause of breast pain.The symptom of breast cancer is usually a painless lump. Pain is not usually an early symptom.

As there are various causes it is best to see a doctor for assessment

What is the treatment for noncyclical breast pain?

NSAIDs such as ibuprofen may ease the pain. Topical NSAIDs may also work. Other treatments may be appropriate, depending on whether a cause is found.

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