Why do my Breast Hurt?

Dra. Maria E Zweig

My breasts hurt, is this normal?

Breast pain is very common complaint among our patients, more common among women related to breast tissue. 70 percent of women experience this type of pain at some point in their life, but in most cases, although very uncomfortable, it’s usually not anything dangerous.

There are two main different kinds of pain:

  • Cyclical
  • No cyclical

Cyclical Breast Pain

Cyclical pain usually occurs sometime during the two weeks before menstruation occurs. It is the result of normal hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Is related to the blood levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The pain may spread to the underarm area or upper arm. The breasts may feel swollen, nodular and sore. The discomfort will usually subside soon after beginning you begin menstruating. The average age of women with cyclical breast pain, is 34 years. The duration may be several years, but usually improves after menopause, unless we use hormone therapy.

Of women suffering from breast pain, two thirds have that pain, cyclically; usually related to the menstrual cycle or sometimes when they are going through long periods of stress.

Non cyclical

Women who experience pain – but is not cyclical, often feel pain in a specific area of ​​the breast. Sometimes it is not the breast which hurts, but the ribs or sternum, located immediately below the breast tissue in the chest. This type of pain is not related to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. It is much less predictable, and can occur at any age.

Factors contributing to the pain of not breast – non-cyclical:

  • Cysts in the breasts
  • muscle-skeletal, arthritis.
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Weight gain, obesity
  • Bra is too tight
  • Intake or use of certain substances – caffeine, nicotine, and fatty foods
  • Trauma
  • Infection (mastitis / cellulitis)
  • Tumors present in the breast, remember to ask your doctor to perform a mammogram just in case


It is important that women who have persistent sore breasts come for evaluation. We will take into consideration the physical examination and history. Also, we could recommend an ultrasound or mammogram of the breast. In a young patient digital mammography helps us more than a conventional one. Positron (a three-dimensional mammography) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also help us make a more accurate diagnosis.