Breast pain is a frequent complaint in general medicine. However, in most cases it does not alert anything serious. For what is this? When do you require medical attention? In this article we detail it.
Knowing the possible causes of breast pain is an important issue for any woman. This symptom usually affects most women at least once in their life. However, it does not usually indicate anything serious and tends to disappear without the need for treatment.
As expert explains through its page, breast pain can be cyclical or non-cyclical. The cyclical is when the ailment appears due to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle; non-cyclical, meanwhile, can have different causes, including trauma to the breast.
When is it necessary to consult the doctor? Well, to solve this question, it is important to detail those possible causes of pain. Next, we will do a brief review of the most common ones.
Causes of breast pain
Breast pain is known in medical terms as mastalgia. According to the Breast Cancer Foundation, this type of pain includes any ailment, tenderness or discomfort in the breasts or armpit region. Contrary to what many people think, it does not usually indicate breast cancer.
Most of the time it has its origin in hormonal changes or benign conditions. Anyway, when it occurs persistently or severely, the ideal is to go to the doctor to receive a proper diagnosis. Let’s see the main causes below.
Hormonal fluctuations, specifically female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, are one of the main causes of breast pain. Through Harvard Health Publishing, experts explain that these hormones have a stimulating effect that increases fluid retention in breast tissue and, therefore, inflammation.
However, it is not entirely clear to doctors why this type of pain occurs. In any case, it usually occurs at various times in a woman’s reproductive life, such as:
- Shortly before and during the menstrual period
- In the first trimester of pregnancy
- Lactation period
Fibrocystic breast changes
Fibrocystic changes occur when fibrous tissues and cysts form in the breasts. In some cases, it is painful, but most of the time it is benign and does not require treatment. Anyway, it is good to evaluate it in the hands of professionals, who will determine if some type of intervention is necessary.
Fatty acid imbalance
One of the not-so-known causes of breast pain is fatty acid imbalance. These substances are present in vegetable and animal oils. When there is an imbalance in the cells, the hormonal sensitivity increases and, therefore, pain is perceived.
Symptoms can be controlled by increasing the consumption of healthy fats, such as olive oil. In some cases, doctors suggest supplements like evening primrose oil. In addition, foods with complex carbohydrates are also suggested.
According to information published in the National Health Service, medications such as birth control pills and antidepressants can affect breast pain. In these cases, the doctor will be the one to determine if they are responsible and if it is necessary to make some kind of adjustment.
Sometimes breast pain is the result of physical overexertion during activities such as raking, rowing, paddling, skiing, among others. This type of pain is muscular and can spread to the arms and back muscles. It should go away with rest.
Are there other causes of breast pain?
Yes. There are other possible causes that can explain breast pain. As a study published in the research concludes, factors such as stress, caffeine, smoking, breastfeeding frequency, breast size, among others, can also affect this type of pain.
In case of doubts, or if there are other symptoms besides pain, it is best to consult a doctor. If there are signs of illness or injury, the professional will determine if specific tests and treatments are needed.