Breast pain can be very distressing and frightening for women. It can appear as a sharp pain or feeling of discomfort and tighteningin the breasts. This pain may occur periodically, but may also be constant. In both cases,pain in breast causes concerns and doubtsto whether this is a serious illness. Although this is a common problem among women, the causes may be different-some are negligible while others are really serious.
Types of Pain in Breasts
Cyclic breast pains occur periodically, most often in premenopausal women. Their intensity varies during the menstrual cycle and depends on the change in hormones, and they are most intense a few days before menstruation. This pain is characterized by a feeling of heaviness and painful breasts and usually occurs in both breasts. Often, this pain can be extended to regions of armpits.
Noncyclic breast pain is not periodic and is not related to the menstrual cycle. This is usually a sharp stabbing pain, which may be intermittent or continuous. It may occur in menopausal women and in premenopausal patients. What makes these pains different from the cyclical pain is the fact that they usually occur in one particular areaof one breast. It may be in the vicinity of the breast, under or inside the breast. Very often, this pain may look like angina and you can feel the pain in the muscles of the chest, rib cage, joints or spine.
What Causes Sharp Pain in Breasts?
When it comes to pain in the breast, women often have in mind the worst case and assume that it was breast cancer. The fact is that breast pain is rarely the first symptom of this serious illness.
1. Changes in Hormone Levels
Hormonal changes can often cause unpleasant breast pains that we can rashly connect with breast cancer. These changes are, in contrast to breast cancer, less dangerous. Hormonal changes that can cause breast pain are as follows:
- Menstruation and premenstrual syndrome
- Puberty, which can cause pain in boys and girls
- Pregnancy, especially the first months of pregnancy
- After childbirth, the improper emptying of milk ducts and inflammation of these channels may cause breastfeeding mastitis, which can be quite painful.
2. Fibrocystic Breast Tissue
This may be another cause of sharp breast pain. Fibrocystic breasts is usually characterized by lumpy breast tissue. Instead of cells, the lumps are fluid filled cysts. Very often, this breast can be very painful during certain times of the month, especially before period.
3. Certain Medications
The use of some medications can also cause disturbing chest pains. Among them are:
- Certain diuretics
- Digitalis preparations
- Methyldopa (Aldomet)
- Spironolactone (Aldactone)
4. Side Effects of Surgery or Mammogram
One of the causes of chest pain may be a physical intervention on the chest, such as surgery or screening with the mammogram. After surgery the damaged tissue and scars may be painful for a while and highly sensitive. Mammography also causes physical pressure on the breast, when they are pressed between plastic sheets for review.
5. Uncomfortable Bras
Poor choice of bra can cause pain. Today, there are a number of varieties, but you should choose one that is especially comfortable. Underwire bras, too padded bras that raise breast unnatural, and too tight bra can cause discomfort and pain. Be sure you have made a good choice of bra and select the proper size for your breasts.
How to Diagnose and Treat Sharp Pain in Breast
When it comes to cyclical breast pain, one-third of women find that their condition improves without treatment in about three cycles. However, for many women the pain returns after a while.
How to Diagnose Pain in Breast
To find the true cause and get a proper diagnosis for your breast pain, you should see a doctor and provide him with the proper information. Keep records of the association of breast pain with your menstrual cycle. Your doctor will look at the history of your illness and the medicines that you consume, and can send you at an ultrasound or the mammogram to get an overview of the breast tissue from the inside. Breast pain is not necessarily always an indication that you have breast cancer. Views will show whether they are in question cysts, nodules, hormonal changes, medications you are taking, or something like that.
How to Treat Pain in Breast
There are several ways to get rid of chest pains.
- Nonprescription medicines can help alleviate the pain. These include acetaminophen such as Tyenol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Aspirin. Before using any drug, read the instructions and consult your doctor if you are pregnant. Do not use Aspirin if you are younger than 20 because of the danger of Reye syndrome.
- Prescription medicines. There are drugs that are used for alleviating the cyclical breast pain, such as Danazol and tamoxifen. Your doctor will prescribe them if they are the right choice for your problem.
- Magnesium supplements. Taking magnesium can reduce many of the problems related to menstruation, including breast pain. It is recommended to take magnesium two weeks before the next period.
- Reduce dietary fat. Adequate nutrition can sometimes help reduce pain in the breast. Reduce fat intake by 15% and try to make it your everydaydiet routine. You can also try to reduce the amount of caffeine you ingest.
When to See a Doctor
A mandatory visit to your doctor is required if you experience some of the following symptoms along with the longer pain:
- Discharge from your nipples, no matter whether it is a bloody or clear
- The newly created lump that does not go away after your period
- Persistent and inexplicable pain of the breast that does not stop
- The redness of the breast, pus or fever that indicates an infection
When Is Breast Pain Correlated With Breast Cancer?
Though lumps, pain and tenderness in breast are usually caused by some other conditions which is not as serious as a breast cancer, sometimes they do have something to do with the frightening disease.
And do not ignore the following signs that may indicate this terrible disease:
- Changes in the nipple, such as nipple retraction or discharge
- Changes in the breast: enlargement of one breast, dimpling of the breast surface, orange peel texture or visible veins on breasts
- Pain in the vagina
- Sudden weight loss
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits
If you notice that the pain is not related to the cycle;or some specific changes occur in the breast, tissue or nipples; or if you have a strong, unbearable pain in only one breast, that can be a cause for concern.