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Breast Pain - Symptoms

Cyclical breast pain
Cyclical breast pain is linked to changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle, which mainly affects pre-menopausal women. These hormonal changes cause the breast tissues to be more sensitive, which can in turn, cause pain.

You may experience heaviness, tenderness, burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or feel tightness in the area. The pain can affect one or both breasts and can spread to the armpit, down the arm and to the shoulder blade. This type of pain usually stops when the ovaries become inactive after menopause. However, women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after their menopause can also experience breast pain. This is because the HRT maintains some hormones at a pre-menopausal level.

Non-cyclical breast pain
There are two types of non-cyclical breast pain.

  • True non-cyclical breast pain comes from the breast but is not linked to the menstrual cycle.
  • Extra mammary or chest wall pain (known as musculoskeletal pain) is felt in the area of the breast but actually comes from elsewhere, such as the muscles, bones and joints.

Both types of non-cyclical breast pain can result in continuous pain or pain that comes from time to time and can affect women before and after menopause. The pain can be in one or both breasts and can affect the whole breast or a specific area. It may feel like a burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or tightness in the area. The pain may last from a few minutes up to a few days.

Seek medical attention if the pain is persistent and/or associated with other breast symptoms such as a breast lump or skin changes etc.

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The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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