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5 reasons why women experience breast pain

March 24, 2020 12:20 IST

Most of the times breast cancer is non painful, says Dr Mandeep S Malhotra.

Headache vs Migraine

Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: Kind courtesy

Any symptom of pain, tenderness or tightness in one or both breasts doesn’t mean anything serious. But if you experience pain quite regularly, you shouldn't ignore it.

It can lead to multiple complications in breast.

Breast pain, commonly known as 'mastalgia' can be a sign of breast cancer.

The pain can be cyclical or non-cyclical.

Pain associated with your menstrual cycle is cyclical while noncyclical pain is associated with injury, muscles or tissues rather than breast itself.

If you don't examine your breasts on a regular basis, identifying noncyclical pain is difficult.

Here are five common reasons why women experience pain in the breasts: 

1. Breast cyst

Lumps or cysts in the breasts doesn’t mean breast cancer. Cysts can be of various forms and sizes.

Breast cyst are fluid filled sac and different from tumour (cancer). They typically become enlarged during menstrual cycle and go away once menopause is reached.

2. Cyclic breast pain

As explained earlier cyclic pain in your breasts is related to reproductive cycle. It usually effects both the breasts and worsens during the 2 weeks before period and improved later.

In most cases, the pain is normal and doesn’t cause any worry.

3. Mastitis 

It is defined as infection or inflammation of breast.

Mastitis occurs most commonly during breastfeeding due to blockage of milk duct.

Basically, the milk pipeline inside your breast gets blocked, which could again be due to various reasons, causing pain or tightening of your breasts.

If the pain refuses to go away, you must seek your doctor assistance so that you can keep breast feeding your child.

4. Medications

There are certain medications that can cause breast pain as well.

It is due to change caused by drugs in hormonal level e.g oral contraceptives, antidepressants etc.

Before taking any such medicine you must ask your doctor about the possible side effects on your body and health.

5. Breast cancer

Most of the times breast cancer is non painful.

Women complain or report pain only when it becomes infected or enlarged enough to cause pain.

There is a clear lack of awareness about breast cancer which often delays treatment. 

It is important to examine your breasts from time to time and consult a good health expert if you have any concerns.

If you experience any lump or abnormality that causes pain, it is best to get checked than ignore it till it's too late.

Dr Mandeep S Malhotra is head of department -- head, neck and breast oncoplasty at Fortis, Vasant Kunj. He can be contacted on

Dr Mandeep S Malhotra