Cyclical breast pain may come and go from month to month or over many years and if symptoms occur that are particularly severe treatment may be required. This may include painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetemol, topical anti-inflammatory creams, evening primrose oil or hormone blocking drugs. You may want to think about whether any medications you are taking are contributing to your symptoms. For example the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy may be making the pain more severe. Wearing a well fitting, supportive bra can also help reduce breast pain, especially during exercise.
Noncyclical pain most commonly affects women 40 years and older. The pain can be constant or come and go at random and can appear in just one or both breasts. The cause is often unclear but some possibilities include muscular or bone problems of the chest wall under the breast, infection, shingles, a problem in the breast tissue and in some very rare cases a tumour or cancer. It is best to see a doctor to try to discover the underlying cause. Often the pain will disappear by itself but in some cases pain killers or topical treatments may be required.
Breast pain can often lead women to immediately assume and worry about breast cancer. Breast pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, especially early on. The first symptoms are usually either a painless lump in the breast or under arm, discharge from the nipple, swelling or redness in the breast or any symptom associated with pregnancy such as missing a period.
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