Mastalgia is breast pain. There are 2 types:
- Cyclical pain is linked to menstrual cycles
- Noncyclical pain is not linked to menstrual cycles
In some people, the cause is unknown.
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 certain heart medicines
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Having large breasts
- Not wearing a bra that fits well and has good support
- Using certain medicines
The main symptom is pain in the breast area. Pain may be mild or severe. It may be in both breasts or just one. It may be painful only in one spot or all over.
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your breasts. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images 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 this problem.
Mastalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/mastalgia. Accessed October 19, 2020.
Salzman B, Fleegle S, et al. Common breast problems. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Aug 15;86(4):343-349. EBSCOhost full-text, editorial can be found in Am Fam Physician 2012 Aug 15;86(4):325.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Elliot M. Levine, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 4/27/2021