Mastalgia is breast pain. There are two types:
- Cyclical pain—linked to menstrual cycles
- Noncyclical pain—not linked to menstrual cycles
The pain can be caused by:
- Hormonal changes from a woman's cycle
- Trauma to the breast
- Stretching of breast ligaments
- Certain medicines, such as hormone medicines, antidepressants, or some heart medicines
In some people, the cause is not known.
Things that may raise the risk of mastalgia are:
- Having large breasts
- Not wearing a bra that fits well and has good support
- Using certain medicines
The main symptom is mild to severe pain in the breast area. It may be in both breasts or just one. It may be painful only in one spot or all over.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the breasts. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Pictures may need to be taken to look for any breast changes. This can be done with:
Treatment will be based on what is causing the pain. Options are:
- Using hot or cold packs
- Lifestyle changes, such as wearing a supportive bra, avoiding caffeine, or eating a low-fat diet
- Medicines to ease pain
- Changing or stopping medicines that may be causing pain
There are no known guidelines to prevent mastalgia.
- Breast pain (mastalgia). Johns Hopkins website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/mastalgia-breast-pain.
- Mastalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/mastalgia.
- Elizabeth Margaret Prusak, MD
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