A very common presentation in the breast clinic experienced by women of all age groups. The most common cause is due to hormonal fluctuations during the pre-menstrual period affecting directly on the breasts. This usually is transient and resolves after the menses.
In some others the pain may not be related to the menstrual cycle. The underlying cause is mainly idiopathic i.e. no known underlying cause. Usually the condition resolves by itself. Relief may be sought using warm packs, supportive brassiere and stress relieving activities.
Occasionally, pain from other conditions such as heart attack or gallstones can be felt in the breast. This is known as referred pain. The relevant specialist attention will be required.
Breast pain can be very distressing as most women fear that it is a sign of cancer. Understanding more about the changes in the breast can be reassuring to most women although it may not alleviate it completely. Very rarely does breast cancer present with pain. Having breast pain does not increase your risk of breast cancer, however, it is still important to be aware and consult the doctor if there are any new changes in the breast.
If pain persists for more than 3 months at a stretch, medical consultation should be sought. The breast surgeon will do a basic examination and breast imaging to evaluate further.