Breast Pain: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Related Symptoms & Signs

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.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2017
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