Breast pain is more common than some realize. In many instances, the pain is not cause for concern. In others, it can be a sign of an underlying condition that requires medical intervention. If you are experiencing breast pain, here is what you need to know.
Are There Different Types of Breast Pain?
There are two main categories of breast pain. Cyclical breast pain generally occurs within days of the beginning and ending of your menstrual cycle. It is relatively common and usually stops after menopause.
Non-cyclical breast pain is usually considered any pain that occurs that is not related to your menstrual cycle. In some cases of non-cyclical pain, the pain might feel as if it is in your breast, but it actually is coming from your chest wall.
How Do You Know the Difference?
Cyclical and non-cyclical have certain characteristics that can help you discern the difference between the two types of pain. For instance, cyclic breast pain can be accompanied by swelling or lumpiness. It also usually gets stronger around the period leading up to the start of your menstrual cycle. The pain that is felt is often more dull or heavy.
By contrast, non-cyclic breast pain tends to burn or feel tight. It is also constant and usually occurs in just one breast. Non-cyclic pain also occurs at anytime. It is not directly related to your menstrual cycle because it usually happens after menopause.
What Should You Do?
Regardless of whether you believe your pain to be cyclical or non-cyclical, you should see your doctor of gynecology if the pain lasts longer than a couple of weeks. You also should seek help if the pain seems to intensify or if it interferes with your ability to perform daily activities.
It is also important to remember that you should consult with your gynecologist whenever you are concerned about the pain. He or she can perform an examination and determine if there is an underlying condition that could also be contributing to your symptoms.
There are measures you can take to possibly alleviate the pain you are experiencing. For instance, you can wear a well-supporting bra. To ensure that you are getting the best fit, have your bra fit by a professional.
You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers, such aspirin. Topical pain relievers can also offer relief.
You should never ignore breast pain. Pay attention to the symptoms and the occurrences of the pain and keep your gynecologist informed of your condition.