Breast pain is common and usually caused by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Taking the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy can also cause breast pain. Some women experience breast pain every day, not just during the menstrual cycle.
A more recent article on common breast problems is available. See related patient information handout on breast painwritten by Amy S. Weichel, D.
Most women experience breast changes at some time. Your age, hormone levels, and medicines you take may cause lumps, bumps, and discharges fluids that are not breast milk. If you have a breast lump, pain, discharge or skin irritation, see your health care provider.
Back to Healthy body. As you get older, it's natural for your breasts to lose their firmness, change shape, shrink in size and become more prone to certain abnormal lumps. In most cases, breast lumps are harmless, but whatever your age, it's important that you report any new lumps to your doctor. It's normal for breast tissue to become less glandular and more fatty as you get older, which makes them feel less firm and full.
Breast lumps, cysts, mastitis, or painful breasts can occur in many women. It is helpful to know what causes these changes, when they occur and what treatments are available, particularly to relieve breast pain. Breast pain is the most common breast symptom and reason to seek medical help.
Palpable breast masses, mastalgia, and nipple discharge are commonly encountered symptoms in outpatient practice, causing significant patient anxiety and precipitating medical consultation. The initial workup includes a detailed clinical history and physical examination. Women presenting with a breast mass will require imaging and further assessment to exclude cancer.
Breast disorders may be noncancerous benign or cancerous malignant. Most are noncancerous and not life threatening. Often, they do not require treatment.
Breast lumps, pain, discharge or skin problems can be a sign of a minor problem or something more serious, so it's important to pay attention to any changes. Follow this chart for more information about breast problems. Do the swelling and tenderness seem to occur at about the same time during every menstrual cycle?