Breast pain, also called mastalgia, is very common. The pain may be felt as heaviness or soreness, or a stabbing or burning sensation. It can be felt in any part of the breast and may spread to nearby areas too. Some people worry that breast pain may be a sign of a serious condition such as breast cancer, but pain by itself is rarely a sign of cancer .
Breast pain is commonly caused by changes in hormone levels that occur during the menstrual cycle. This is known as cyclical breast pain. Hormone changes may be the cause of your pain if:
Conditions to rule out first, under medical supervision ;
Medical treatments that can sometimes cause breast pain, include :
Note: If your symptoms are caused by your hormonal medication, we suggest that you discuss your options with a doctor. These steps may reduce symptom severity, but are unlikely to be able to stop them completely whilst you remain on the same medication.
TOP TIPS! Wearing a supportive bra during the day, at night, and while exercising can help reduce the pain, as can over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, and gels that you rub into your skin such as ibuprofen or diclofenac.
Managing hormone-related breast pain:
Try a hormone-balancing diet– As outlined in this blog, a vegetable-based ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet can significantly improve all hormone-related symptoms. We highlight a few of the key steps that are especially relevant for those suffering from breast pain, below;
Try nutritional supplements:
– Iodine is recommended by dietitians as a highly effective treatment for cyclical breast pain, since it significantly reduces the breast changes associated with it . However, it can be harmful to the thyroid gland, so DO NOT EXCEED 0.5 mg daily, unless your doctor advises this .
– Vitex Agnus Castus (200- 500 mg of extract daily) is reported by many dietitians to be a reliable treatment for cyclical breast pain, and there is some research that supports this claim .
– Vitamin E (200 IU daily) has also been shown to eliminate breast pain (in 70% of study participants) after just two months of supplementation .
If you have tried the suggested tips and tricks for at least 3 months, and your symptoms do not improve, please consult your doctor.
If you have any suggestions, or tips, for managing breast pain- please let us know– we can share them with others!
Page last reviewed and updated: June 2018