Breast pain (Mastodynia/Mastalgia) that is not related to the menstrual cycle is known as Non-cyclical Breast Pain. This can occur at any age, can be persistent or come and go in a random manner, can be associated with an underlying cause, or might not be associated with anything at all. What most women worry about Non-cyclical Breast Pain, is its association with cancer. In that case, breast pain is seldom associated with a tumor.
Location of pain
Pain can be localized to one breast it can be experienced on both sides. This can have a focal point and can be diffused.
Duration of pain
Pain can be persistent, extending for up to a few months. In some cases, Non-cyclical Breast Pain goes away within a few days.
Character of pain
Non-cyclical Breast Pain can be throbbing, pulsating, pinching, or radiating in character that is experienced with some degree of tenderness.
- Dull and heavy breast pain
- Tingling and burning sensation
- Lumpiness and severe discomfort
- Irritation associated with soreness
- Pain aggravating upon any sort of sexual activity
- Breast is tender to touch
- Swelling of some degree
Non-cyclical Breast Pain can occur at any point in life and is not affected by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. The pain can be present due to an underlying cause, some of which are as follows:
- Pregnancy: Breasts can swell up during the first trimester of pregnancy, the swelling is also associated with some degree of tenderness.
- Breastfeeding: Some women also experience mastalgia due to breastfeeding.
- Mastitis: An infection in the breast known as mastitis also causes severe mastodynia.
- Shingles: Before the rash begins to develop in shingles, Breast pain is experienced.
- Breast tumors, lumps, and cancers: These are very rare and uncommon causes of mastalgia. Breast pain is only experienced in later stages due to cysts and lumps that become painful.
- Pain referred from chest wall: Often some muscles or bones in the chest wall become inflamed and cause pain that is felt in the breast.
- Mastalgia with no specific cause: Very often the breast tissue itself is sensitive and causes pain without the presence of any sort of lumps or tumors.
In most of the cases of Non-cyclical Breastreast pain, the pain goes away within a few months and does not require any sort of treatment. However, some medicines can be used to ease the pain, if it persists for too long.
- Topical Analgesic that can be rubbed upon the breast
- NSAIDs for pain relief
- Causative treatment is done for each underlying cause.
- Wear a properly fitted bra for better support to the breast.
When to consult a doctor?
If you experience any sort of changes in the size or shape of your breast or find any sort of newly formed lumps or discharge that was not present before, you should consult your gynecologist as early as possible for proper breast examination.
The character of pain is almost similar however, cyclic breast pain is affected by changes in hormones that take place over the entire length of the menstrual cycle and is usually experienced just before the onset of menstruation. While non-cyclical breast pain can occur at any time.
No, breast pain is very rarely associated with tumors or cancer. Only in later stages when the fluid-filled cysts and lumps develop, they become painful and cause mastalgia.
Non-cyclical Breast Pain can develop at any age, provided the cause. Therefore it is more commonly seen in women over the age of 40 years.