There are many sudden breast pain reasons. It’s not usually serious, but you must see your doctor if the pain does not relieve.
Breast pain is usually related to periods. Because hormones are making your breasts sore.
Breast pain may be constant or temporary, and it can occur in men, women, and transgender people.
Breast pain can range from mild to moderate, to severe pain. It can affect one or both breasts.
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What are the common sudden breast pain reasons?
Hormones are the first reason women suffer from breast pain. Breasts become sore three to five days before the beginning of a menstrual period and stop pain after it starts. It’s nothing to worry about.
This is due to a rise in estrogen and progesterone hormones before your period. These hormones cause your breasts to swell and can lead to tenderness, throbbing, sharp, burning pain, or tightness in the breast tissue.
Normally, your breasts become sore and painful during the first trimester of pregnancy as hormone production increases. Breast soreness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy for many women.
To minimize sore breasts, you should follow these steps:
- Avoid smoking
- Eliminate caffeine intake.
- Eat a low-fat diet.
- Reduce salt in the diet.
- Take (OTC) pain relievers.
- Wear a comfortable and supportive bra, and use gentle heat to soothe the pain.
Mastitis is of sudden breast pain reasons that is defined as the inflammation or swelling of the breasts. An infection usually causes it.
Although this condition is common in those who are breastfeeding, it can occur in people who are not.
The symptoms of mastitis include:
- Swelling, redness, hotness, and pain in the affected part
- Flu-like symptoms
How to treat mastitis?
If there is an infection, the doctor will prescribe a suitable antibiotic. A woman who is breastfeeding will also need to empty her breasts of milk.
If there is an abscess, the doctor will drain the pus surgically or remove it with a needle.
A breast injury
Breasts can be injured such as any part of the body. Breast injury is one of sudden breast pain reasons that is caused by an accident, during playing sports, or from breast surgery.
Tenderness can persist for a few days up to several weeks after injury to the breast.
When to see your doctor?
If the pain doesn’t relieve.
If there is a lump in the breast.
If there is a bruise that doesn't relieve.
If there is an infection indicated by swelling, redness, and hotness.
Some medications can contribute to the occurrence of breast pain. So, people who suffer from breast pain should tell their doctors to find out whether any of their medications could be causing their symptoms.
These medications include:
- Digitalis preparations, treat congestive heart failure (CHF) and abnormal heart rhythm.
- Chlorpromazine, which treats mental health disorders
- Certain potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone (Aldactone).
- Oxymetholone (Anadrol), is a treatment for low red blood cell count.
- Methyldopa (Aldomet), which treats high blood pressure.
Back, neck, or shoulder sprains
The sudden breast pain reasons are multiple and may originate from outside the breast, rather than within it. For example, sprains or injuries in the back, neck, or shoulder might cause pain that you feel in the breast.
This is called the referred pain as the pain originating from a place, but you feel it in another place.
The treatment relies on finding out the primary cause and treating it.
For example, people who suffer from a pinched nerve (cervical root disorders), can feel breast pain. These disorders involve damage to or inflammation of a nerve root in the neck.
The treatment of pinched nerve is physical therapy or spinal surgery the pinched nerve may relieve the breast pain.
Too tight bras may cause breast pain or if they contain an underwire.
Women should purchase non-wired, supportive, and comfortable bras if they have cyclic breast pain.
Supportive bras also are helpful during exercising as they decrease breast pain.
Chest wall pain
Many conditions can cause pain in the wall of the chest. This chest wall pain can sometimes feel that it is coming from the breast, even though it is not.
Causes of chest wall pain:
- Fractured ribs
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
A person may experience:
- Burning or sharp pain.
- Pain that spreads down the arm.
- Pain occurs when someone applies pressure to the chest wall.
- Pain that worsens upon movement.
The treatment will vary depending on the primary cause, but it may involve pain management and avoiding movements that make the pain worse until the primary cause has been solved.
Costochondritis is the inflammation of the costal cartilage, which links the ribs to the breastbone. This condition can cause sharp chest pain and tenderness, and it may have a gradual or sudden onset.
The following factors may increase the pain:
- Pressure on the chest.
- Physical activity.
- Sitting or lying in particular positions.
- Deep breathing, sneezing, or coughing.
Treatment may include:
Avoiding activities that increase pain.
Applying heat to the area
Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, if older than 16 years, corticosteroid injections, and undergoing transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a procedure that applies an electric current to an area to reduce pain.
Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs. They are relatively soft, noncancerous, and more common in premenopausal females.
Some cysts do not produce symptoms, so no need for treatment, but others may cause pain and nipple discharge.
We treat breast cysts only if they are large or painful by draining the fluid out with a needle.
Breast cancer is defined as breast cells growing uncontrollably, it is a possible cause of sudden breast pain reasons.
Symptoms of breast cancer:
- Breast pain
- A lump in the breast
- Any nipple discharge ( bloody, clear, or otherwise)
- Inflammation or flakes of the skin of nipples
- Change in the shape or size of the breast, making one breast larger than the other
The treatment of breast cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and biological therapy.
The scar tissue forms as a result of surgery and radiation therapy for breast cancer. The scar tissue can result in:
- Pain, if the scar tissue forms near the nerves.
- Increase the firmness of the breast
- Formation of a lump if the scar develops around a surgical stitch.
Treatment of scar tissue can include:
Using creams and ointments to decrease the appearance of scars, physical therapy, or surgical removal of scar tissue, if it is very painful.
Prevention of sudden breast pain reasons
The following steps may help prevent sudden breast pain reasons.
- Avoid hormone therapy.
- Avoid medications that are known to cause breast pain or make it sore.
- Wear a fit bra and wear a sports bra during exercise.
- Try relaxation therapy to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension.
- Eliminate the intake of chocolate, coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
- Avoid prolonged lifting activities and practice regular exercise.
- Follow a suitable low-fat diet.
- Consider using an otc pain reliever.
When to see a doctor
You should see your doctor if:
There is a change in the size or shape of the breast.
There is an abnormal discharge from either nipple.
There is a rash around the nipples.
There is a lump or thickening tissue in the breast.
There is pain in the breast that is not related to the menstrual cycle.
There is a change in the appearance of nipples.
There are many possible sudden breast pain reasons. This pain may be cyclic or noncyclic. If the pain is cyclic, it is related to the hormones of the period.
Noncyclic breast pain may be due to PMS, fibrocystic breast changes, injuries, sprains, or costochondritis.
Also, cysts or infections can cause this pain. In most cases, breast pain is not a cause of breast cancer.
In many cases, there are no complications.
We can relieve sudden breast pain by following a suitable diet and exercise routine.
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