Information on Breast Pain

Breast pain, or mastalgia, is often characterized as a throbbing, sharp, stabbing, or burning pain or tenderness or tightness in the breast tissue that may occur constantly or occasionally in any gender. There can be a variety of reasons for breast pain including leading up to a menstrual period in women, hormone therapy in transgender women, and gynecomastia in men. Most times, the breast pain occurs for a noncancerous reason, rarely signifying breast cancer.

Cyclic breast pain occurs during changing hormone levels and is related to the menstrual cycle, usually described as an aching, dull, or heavy pain. These feelings also are often associated by breast lumpiness, swelling, or fullness, affecting both breasts. This mostly affects those aged 20 or 30 years old or those who are around age 40 transitioning into menopause. Noncyclic breast pain is not related to the menstrual cycle, with a constant or intermittent tight, burning, stabbing, or aching feeling. This usually occurs in one localized part of the breast but can spread across the breast. This usually occurs in women following menopause.

It is important for patients to see a healthcare professional when the breast pain occurs on a daily basis for longer than a couple of weeks, happens in a specific area of the breast, gets progressively worse, starts interfering with daily activities, or wakes the person from their sleep.


Breast Pain. Mayo Clinic. Published January 16, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2022.

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