Breast pain is typically classified as cyclic or noncyclic. Cyclic breast pain is typically related to the menstrual cycle and is often described as feeling dull, heavy, or achy. Cyclic breast pain is sometimes accompanied by swelling. It affects both breasts at the same time and intensifies as the beginning of the period approaches. Noncyclic breast pain is unrelated to the menstrual cycle and is described as a tight or burning pain. Noncyclic breast pain is usually localized to one breast and can occur intermittently or constantly. Sometimes the breasts can be sore due to an injury or pain elsewhere in the body. For example, a pulled muscle in the chest or shoulder may cause pain that radiates into the breast.
There are a number of causes for breast pain. Cyclic breast pain has strong links to hormone fluctuations and the menstrual cycle. The structure of the breast can also contribute to breast pain, for example, if changes in the milk ducts or glands result in cysts. Certain medications such as fertility treatments or birth control can cause breast pain. It is also associated with certain antidepressants. Women with large breasts may experience noncyclic breast pain as will women who have had breast surgery with scar formation.
If you experience breast pain for more than a couple of weeks or occurs in a specific area of the breast, you should talk to your doctor about the pain. Also, if the pain seems to be getting worse or increasing, or interferes with your day to day activities, you should seek medical assessment. While breast pain is not a common symptom of breast cancer, it is much better to seek medical diagnosis and treatment. The doctors at The Women’s Health Center take women’s wellbeing very seriously and aim to help each and every one of their patients to live healthy and active lives.
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