Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
The most common cause of breast discomfort is from the effects of hormones on breast tissue from the female menstrual period. Many women experience mild monthly breast pain in conjunction with their periods (menses). For some women, however, the pain can be more severe. This premenstrual breast pain is referred to as cyclic breast discomfort. The exact cause of cyclic breast discomfort has not been determined.
Much less common causes of breast pain include benign growths (tumors) in the breasts (including cysts), breast cancer, and certain medications. It should be noted that breast cancers are often painless and can be detected by manual examination, mammogram, or ultrasound of the breast. Breast pain is called mastodynia, mastalgia, or mammalgia by physicians.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Breast Cancer Quiz: Symptoms & Signs
This Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. ...
Picture of Breast Anatomy
The breast refers to the front of the chest or, more specifically, to the mammary gland. See a picture of Breast Anatomy and...
Signs of Cancer in Men: Could it Be Cancer?
See pictures of which 15 cancer symptoms men ignore such as skin changes, difficulty swallowing, rapid weight loss, a breast...
Signs of Cancer in Women: Symptoms You Can't Ignore
Cancer symptoms can surprise women if they don't know what to watch out for. 15 cancer symptoms women ignore such as weight loss,...
Causes of Breast Pain
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast...
Breastfeeding (and Formula Feeding)
It's important to know whether you will breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby prior to delivery, as the breasts' ability to produce...
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs
Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience...
Fibrocystic Breast Condition (Cysts, Fibrosis, Lumps)
Fibrocystic breast condition (sometimes called fibrocystic breast disease) is characterized by lumpiness and usually discomfort...
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound....
Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's...
Paget Disease of the Breast
Paget's disease is a rare form of cancer that forms in or around the nipple and frequently coexists with breast cancer. The exact...
Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but...
Other Causes of Breast Pain
- Benign Breast Tumors
- Cyclic Breast Discomfort
Examples of Medications for Breast Pain
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter