Breast pain affects 70% of women at some time. It is rarely a sign of breast cancer but can be severe enough to interfere with daily living.
Two types of breast pain
1. Cyclical pain. This is the more common type. It occurs in the week or two before the period and settles when the bleeding begins. It is most frequent in the thirties and usually affects both sides.
2. Non-cyclical pain. This may be continuous or occur randomly during the cycle. It is often in one breast only and is more common in the forties and after menopause. Breast pain can be a heaviness, discomfort, burning or stabbing feeling.
See your GP first for a check up to rule out underlying disease. Your doctor may perform a breast examination and order tests such as an ultrasound or mammogram.
Most improve with treatment
The following treatments may help:
- A well-fitting, supportive bra. Some women prefer a soft bra or no bra at all.
- Pain killers such as paracetamol.
- Evening primrose oil (1000mg 1-3 times daily) over 2-3 months is often effective.
- Vitamins B1 & B6 help in some cases.
- A hot shower/water bottle or ice pack.
- Reduced caffeine (coffee, tea, cola etc).
- A healthy lifestyle: stop smoking, reduce stress, eat well and exercise regularly.
Your doctor may prescribe the Pill. Other effective hormonal medications are also available for more severe cases.
For more information: http://www.bci.org.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.