Breast pain, also known as Mastalgia, is the most common breast-related symptom. Fortunately, breast pain is rarely due to cancer.

There are 2 main types of mastalgia:

1.Cyclical breast pain- The pain is related to menstrual cycle.

2.Noncyclic breast pain- The pain is not related to menstrual cycle and may arise from the breast or it may be referred from somewhere else, such as nearby muscles or joints, and may be felt in the breast.

CYCLICAL MASTALGIA: Most commonly, breast pain is cyclical, and is related to the normal hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle.

Usually it starts a week before the start of menses, and resolves after the end of menses. Hormonal breast pain tends to be in both breasts.

Minimal cyclical breast discomfort is very normal. However, in a small number of women, this cyclical pain can be moderate to severe, affecting day-to-day activities.

NON CYCLICAL MASTALGIA:  does not follow the usual menstrual pattern.

It tends to be on one side and in different locations of the breast.

Common causes:

1.Large breasts with inappropriate bra support: Large breasts tend to pull on the ligaments of the breast, and discomfort may involve the neck and shoulder as well.

2.Diet: caffeine, a high-fat, carbohydrate diet may cause mastalgia.

3.Smoking: Smoking might increase breast pain by increasing epinephrine levels in the breast.

4.Medication: Hormone replacement therapy in post menopausal women, some antidepressants, cardiovascular agents, and antibiotics may cause mastalgia.

5.Chest wall pain: Caused due to activities like lifting heavy weights, waterskiing, rowing etc;.

6.Pregnancy: It is important to consider pregnancy as a common cause of breast pain.

7. Infection in the breast (Mastitis)

8. Cysts in the breasts


1.A breast examination by your doctor to make sure there are no suspicious lumps.

2.A mammogram or ultrasound may also be needed.


Less salt intake.

Wearing a supportive bra.

Applying local heat to the painful area.

Taking over-the-counter pain relievers only if needed.

Avoiding caffeine. Many women report significant improvement in their symptoms when they reduce their intake of tea, coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks.

Try Vitamin E or evening primrose oil.

Try Omega–3 fatty acid. Natural dietary sources include: dark green leafy vegetables, fish, flax, walnuts, and sesame. Omega-3 supplements are also available by prescription and over-the-counter.

Most commonly, pain goes away on its own after a few months, without the need for any treatment.

If not relieved, contact your gynaecologist for further management.

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