Let’s Talk about Breast Pain

There are times at which breast pain can feel like a normal occurrence. For example, many women experience breast soreness and tenderness at a certain point in their menstrual cycle.  When breast pain is not part of the cycle or it changes in some way, its occurrence can feel frightening. Many women feel immense anxiety if they develop breast pain, thinking that this symptom may indicate breast cancer. Fortunately, this is rarely the case. That said, though, any new breast symptoms that occur should be discussed with a physician. This is not limited to breast lumps. Pain also qualifies for a thoughtful discussion with a primary care provider or gynecologist. This doctor may order diagnostic imaging just as they would to evaluate a breast lump.

Breast pain is a relatively general term that can describe tenderness, sharp pain, and other sensations. In most cases of unexplained breast pain, hormones are a contributing factor. Primarily, it is changes in estrogen and progesterone that are involved. This is because these two hormones have a stimulating effect on breast tissue. Pain is one of the primary symptoms of this stimulation, and this stimulation is the reason why most cases of breast pain occur about one week before menstruation. The type of pain, location of pain, and its severity can all change from one month to the next. Women can learn a lot by paying attention or noting the particulars of their symptoms, including the timing of pain during their menstrual cycle. 

In addition to monthly breast pain, another time during which women tend to report more of this symptom is during perimenopause. It is not uncommon for women to develop new breast pain during this phase of life. Again, we look to the normal changes in sex hormones. During perimenopause, these changes can be very erratic. Women who receive hormone replacement therapy during perimenopause may also develop breast pain as a response to their changing hormones. In this case, the symptom may resolve as the body adjusts. Women should also note that they still have enough estrogen and progesterone in their bodies to cause new breast pain even after menopause. In this case, because the menstrual cycle has ended, pain may be more unpredictable. 

What Does Mammography Have To Do With Breast Pain?

Women who have breast pain may be advised to get a mammogram. While breast pain is typically not an early sign of breast cancer, it does not hurt (no pun intended!) to undergo a thorough evaluation of this symptom. In this case, a doctor may recommend diagnostic mammography, which may involve more images than a routine mammogram. 

At PURE Mammography on Long Island, our technicians use the latest 3D mammogram technology and gentleness to make the screening process as comfortable as possible. We gladly take walk-ins, but you may want to call our facility to schedule an appointment time so you don’t have to wait. 

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