What cause pain in breast? A look at the sharp pain in breast, painful, shooting, left, causes and how to get rid of it.
Sharp Pain in Breast
Pain in breast can be very alarming and an individual can worry a lot if the breast tissue develops a tingling, shooting or a stabbing pain. Generally, only one breast may be affected by the sharp pain and the pain do not always coincide with the menstrual cycle. And the thing is that heart attack is normally suspected for the pain as it is very close to the heart.
Most of the women have the breast tenderness and the pain, also known as mastalgia. It can come and go with the monthly periods (that are cyclic) or may not follow any given pattern (noncyclic).
- Cyclic pain is the common type of a breast pain. It can be brought about by the normal monthly changes in the hormones. This sharp pain in breast normally happens in both the breasts. It is normally described as the heaviness or the soreness that radiates to the armpit and arm. The pain is normally most severe before the menstrual period and is usually relieved when the period ends.
Cyclic pain in breast happens more often in younger women. Most of the cyclic pain disappears without any treatment and normally goes away at menopause. Cyclical breast pain presents itself as the sharp pain that is followed by several other symptoms like tenderness, swelling, cysts or even lumpiness in breasts right before the menstrual cycle and then stops after the period is completely over.
Generally, the changes of the levels of the two hormones—progesterone as well as the estrogen are the ones accountable for the pain. Therefore, there is no need for worry much about the pain brought about by hormonal fluctuations as it would go away when the menopause comes. This is the most common type of the breast pain and is related to the menstrual cycle.
The sharp pain in breast is probably associated to the sensitivity of the breast tissue to the hormones and this may be different in each of the breast frequently the pain occurs about 3-7 days before the menstruation.
Although some of the women may experience tenderness beginning in the middle of the cycle with the ovulation and then continuing for two weeks until the menstruation begins In general, cyclic breast pain is much harmless, but if you are concerned please see the doctor.
Although the exact reason for cyclical breast pain is unknown, it’s thought to be related to the changes in the hormone levels before periods begin. The menstrual cycle is controlled by the body releasing hormones like the oestrogen.
Hormones are very powerful chemicals that have a very wide range of effects on the body. The pain happens around the same time every other month, usually one to three days before the start of the period, and improves at the end of the period.
The intensity of the pain may not always be the same. Although cyclical breast pain normally affects women who are still having periods, some women may experience symptoms after the menopause especially if they undergo hormone replacement therapy. Cyclical sharp pain in breast is not associated with any other breast-related conditions.
- Noncyclic pain in breast is the most common in the women of about 30 to 50 years of age. It can happen in only one breast. It is usually described as a very sharp, burning pain that happens in one area of a breast. Sometimes, noncyclic pain can be caused by a fibro adenoma or a cyst.
If the cause of noncyclic pain is found, treating the cause can relieve the pain. The first type of pain can originate from the breast but is unrelated to the menstrual cycle. This is very common in older women before and after the menopause.
Often the sharp pain in breast is described as a stabbing pain and is usually confined to one spot. If the pain starts suddenly, continues and is much confined to one place, it is advisable to visit the doctor.
The second type of the pain can be felt in the region of the breast but is sometimes coming from somewhere else. This type of sharp pain in breast nearly always affects the bones, joints or muscles and is known as musculoskeletal pain. Pain in the chest wall or even the spine can cause discomfort in the breast. Arthritis or a pinched nerve in the neck can be the cause
Pain in breast may get very worse with changes in the hormone levels or even changes in the medicines an individual is taking. Stress may also affect breast pain. A person is more likely to have breast pain before menopause than the period after menopause.
A lump in the breast is normally related to breast cancer, but most of the time, a lump in the breast isn’t in any way cancer. From the hormonal changes in the teens to the damaged fat tissue, more than 85 percent of all the breast lumps in women in their early 20s to early 40’s are noncancerous (or benign).
What Causes Sharp Pain in Breast?
Injury: There are some blood vessels, nerves and the connective tissues in the breasts, plus lobes and even ducts for making of the breast milk. Once the breast is somehow injured, sharp pain and the bruise can develop and only stop when it recovers much completely. And since breasts do not have protection from major the muscles or bones, it is much likely that they may be injured somehow.
Ductal Ectasia or Mastitis: Another known cause for the breast pain may be ductal ectasia or mastitis which would happen due to the formation of an abscess or clogged and infected milk ducts.
Larger Breasts: Sharp pain in breast can also be through the large breasts, but this can only account for the non-c cyclical pain that may also spread to the shoulders, neck and back.
Surgery: If you’ve had any kind of surgery on the breasts such as the reduction, augmentation, reconstruction or mastectomy, the affected tissues can probably hurt after the surgery and as the scar tissue forms.
Fibro adenomas and Cysts: Fibro adenomas and cysts can grow inside the breast and produce large pressure to the tissues nearby, thus leading to the regional sharp pain in breast.
Other Causes: Other factors like the stress would also be the perfect cause, like when you are highly stressed, the muscle groups near the breasts can grow tense, leading to the pain in breast. Rarely, breast cancer will lead to the sharp breast pain, but it is very possible in very few instances.
Pain under Left Breast
The degree of soreness, and where and how it is normally felt, differs for each woman. It might be sharp, stabbing, dull, throbbing or aching. It can be felt in all or some parts of the breasts, one breast or even both. It can also affect the armpit area.
For most of the women, the soreness is not easily noticeable. For others, the pain is very much much that it affects their normal everyday lives. Usually the condition disappears in time.
Shooting Pain in Breast
Breast-Related Causes of Sharp Pain in the Breast
- Breast injury, any type of breast surgery, reduction, mastectomy- the affected tissues will hurt after surgery and as scar tissue will develop.
- Cysts and fibro adenomas can grow and press on the adjacent tissue, leading to the regional breast pain.
- Near the nipple or beneath it, an abscess can develop or milk ducts can become clogged and thus infected, resulting in sharp pain in breast or ductal ectasia.
- When the stress levels are high, you can feel sharp pains in the breast, due to the tensing nearby muscle groups.
- Breast cancer very rarely leads to the sharp pain in breast, but it may do so in a few cases.
Non Breast-Related Causes of Sharp Pain near the Breast
Sometimes a sharp pain happens so close to the breast that it’s hard to tell if the pain is in much within the breast or even beneath it. There may be several causes for the sharp or burning pain.
- Costochondritis is a potentially painful inflammation of the chest wall cartilage and the bones.
- Bronchitis is a painful inflammation of the airways that leads to the lungs. The pain of bronchitis is much worse when you cough or try to strain for breath, but it might feel like breast pain.
- If you’ve been lifting, exercising, or even bending improperly, you may have developed a pulled muscle in the chest wall, led to a rib fracture, or brought on back pain – all of which may feel the same as a sharp pain in breast.
- Heart Attack — this is a very serious, please seek medical attention from the doctor right away.
Breast pain is a common symptom that affects up to two-thirds of the women in the US, mostly between the ages of 30 and 50.
Breast pain may be felt as a heaviness or the soreness, and has been described as a stabbing pain. It’s usually felt in the upper, outer area of the breasts and can extend from the breasts to the armpits, and sometimes down the arms.
Many women usually worry that the breast pain can be a sign of a serious condition. However, breast pain by itself is not a symptom of breast cancer, and breast pain does not increase the risk of developing the breast cancer.
In most of the cases, breast pain is relatively mild, though some women have moderate or even severe pain. Severe or chronic breast pain may interfere with the daily activities and lead to stress, anxiety or depression.
Some women have a lumpy breast tissue known as fibrocystic breasts, which can be more painful during certain times of the month. Fibrocystic breasts are not normally linked to cancer, and the lumps developed are fluid filled cysts rather than the mass of cells. Fibrocystic breast changes are also a very common reason for breast pain. Fibrocystic breast tissue has lumps that tend to be very tender just before the menstrual period.
Sharp pain in breast is usually available to some extent with Inflammatory Breast Cancer which has several other distinct symptoms also. Rarely, a breast tumor can lead to pain, but generally cancerous tumors are not reported as very painful.
In most of the women the symptoms are not severe. Indeed, it may be considered to be normal to have some breast discomfort for a few days before the period. However, in some other women the pain may be severe and last longer.
The 3-5 days before the period are normally the worst. In a few women, the pain usually lasts up to two weeks before a period. The pain normally eases soon after a period starts. The severity usually varies from month to month.
Typically, the pain affects both of the breasts. It is worst in the upper and outer part of the breast and can move to the inner part of the upper arm.
The breasts can also feel much more swollen and lumpy than usual. This lumpiness does not lead to a single definite lump forming. This swelling and lumpiness then improve soon after the period starts.
Quality of life for some of the women can be much affected. Physical activity such as jogging may make the pain worse. Such other things as hugging children and sexual activity might be painful. The sharp pain in breast can interfere with sleep.
How to Get Rid of Sharp Pain in Breast
Here are some of the suggestions that may be worth trying:
- Choose a supportive bra that fits correctly so as to lessen the movement of the breast on the chest wall. This is especially important if the breasts are fuller and if you participate in the activities such as jogging.
- Wearing a soft bra at night might be helpful
- Visit a person who is trained in fitting bras to ensure that you are wearing the correct size and type of bra. Bras that have under-wire may lead to discomfort for some women
- It can be useful to keep a record of the breast pain to see whether there is a pattern. Keep a diary for a few months. Mark the days you have pain plus the days when the menstruation happened. Record other details like any changes in the diet and if there have been any other stressful events. All this details will assist the doctor in obtaining a clearer understanding of the breast pain.
- If you have persistent sharp pain in breast it is also advisable that you talk to the family doctor.
Treatment for Mastalgia
The good news is that most of the women’s mastalgia normally resolves on its own. But if it does not, acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can be useful. Home remedies that include evening primrose oil. Choosing a much more supportive bra can also be useful.
And if the pain is related to high-stress levels or a lot of water retention, try to avoid caffeine and salt for a while. A cup of herbal tea, a lavender-scented candle as well as a hot soak in the tub may just go a long way toward lowering stress and decreasing breast pain.
Most of the cases of sharp pain in breast get better without any treatment. Almost a third of women with cyclical breast pain find their condition gets better in around three menstrual cycles. However, for many, cyclical breast pain will return in the future.
Many women find they can live with their breast pain once they feel reassured that it’s not caused by breast cancer.
The pain can normally be dealt with by over-the-counter painkillers and gels, such as paracetamol. Speak to your pharmacist for advice.
If the breast pain is brought by another condition, such as a breast abscess, the pain should ease once the condition is treated.
If the sharp pain in breast is affecting the quality of life, your doctor can request that you keep a record of the daily pain and may refer you to a breast specialist for further treatment.
No treatment may be required if the symptoms are not severe. Most of the women are reassured by knowing that cyclical breast pain is not a symptom of cancer or even a serious breast disease. The problem can settle by itself in about 3-6 months.
Studies have indicated that cyclical breast pain disappears within three months in about 3 in every 10 cases. However, in up to 6 in every 10 women where the pain has disappeared, it develops again sometime within three years. So, in other words, cyclical breast pain can come and go over the years.
If the pain is very severe, or for the times when it may flare up worse than usual, treatment options are the following:
- Support the breasts. Wear a well-supporting bra when you have pain. It can be worthwhile having a bra fitted for you, as most of the women actually wear a wrong size of bra. Some women find that wearing of a supporting bra 24 hours a day for the week before a period is much helpful. It is best to avoid underwired bras. Wear a sports bra when you exercise. A soft bra at night may help you sleep more comfortably.
- Painkillers and anti-inflammatory painkillers – for instance, paracetamol. Take regularly on the days when the breasts are much painful.
- Rub-on (topical) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – for instance, topical diclofenac. You can buy various topical NSAIDs or get them on prescription. Topical NSAIDs have been indicated to assist relieve the pain of cyclical breast pain.
- Consider your medication. The contraceptive pill can make cyclical sharp pain in breast worse. Other medicines can also worsen the cyclical breast pain – for instance, some antidepressants and some blood pressure medicines. There is not much evidence that changing medication helps. However, occasionally it may be worth stopping or changing the medication to see if this helps. Discuss this with your doctor.
- Medicines to block hormones. Medicines such as danazol and goserelin injections may ease pain in most of the cases. These medicines work by reducing the level, or even blocking the effect of, female hormones such as oestrogen. However, the side-effects are common using these medicines. So, they are not usually tried unless you have the severe pain which happens during most months and does not ease with other treatments. They are only prescribed by specialists.
- Evening primrose oil. This used to be a very popular treatment. However, research studies suggest that this has little effect. Therefore, you can no longer obtain this from your doctor on prescription. Some women still seem to find benefit from it. There are many different preparations of evening primrose oil, containing varying amounts of the active ingredient gamolenic acid.
- Warning Signs of Breast Cancer: http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/warning-signs#Causes2
- Women’s Health: http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/breast-pain-mastalgia-topic-overview