Breast Pain

Chest | Gynecology | Breast Pain (Symptom)


Mastodynia, mastalgia or mammalgia are names for a medical symptom that means breast pain. Pain or discomfort usually affecting one or both breasts is often experienced around the time of a woman periods, but may have other causes.


Many women experience mild monthly breast pain in conjunction with their periods (menses). This premenstrual breast pain is referred to as cyclic breast discomfort. For some women, breast pain is not related to menstruation. One cause of noncyclical breast pain is muscle strain. Much less common causes of breast pain include benign growths (tumours) 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. Other causes of non-cyclical breast pain include alcoholism with liver damage, likely due to abnormal steroid metabolism, mastitis and medications such as antihypertensive drugs, spironolactone, and certain diuretics. Also, shingles can cause a painful blistering rash on the skin of the breasts.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Mild cyclical pain does not normally require treatment. In noncyclical breast pain, the cause will be treated if necessary. Cysts are usually drained and antibiotics can be used to treat infection. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help to relieve muscle pain.