Mastalgia

Also known as: Breast pain, breast tenderness, cyclical mastitis.

What is mastalgia?

Mastalgia refers to any type of pain in the breast or muscles/joints near it. It may be cyclical (when related to the menstrual cycle) or noncyclical (no pattern for the pain); the pain can vary from mild to severe and may occur in one or both breasts.


What causes mastalgia?

Cyclical mastalgia pain gets worse with monthly changes in hormone levels associated a menstrual cycle (or hormone pill ingestion). Occasionally noncyclic pain may be related to the a cyst or fibroadenoma in a breast or from another site like nearby muscles or joints (from trauma or arthritis). 


What are the symptoms of mastalgia?

Cyclic mastalgia is generally present a few days before the period until the end of the period. It’s typified by a sore, heavy feeling of the breasts. Noncyclic mastalgia is often more a sharp, burning pain that arises at random times.


What are mastalgia care options? 

For cyclical mastalgia, changes in diet, caffeine avoidance, other hormones or hormone blockers and Vitamin E may be of benefit.
For noncyclical mastalgia, treatments depend on managing the underlying cause plus over-the-counter pain medications, prescription medicines and compresses. 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:16:18 PM

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