What is it?

Mastodynia is a Greek word that actually refers to the breast pain. The tenderness in the breast can be referred to the same problem. Breast pain is itself considered as one of the greatest symptoms that can identify the disease.
The pain in the breast can be mild to severe. It depends upon the condition of the patient and the reason behind the pain. The breast pain can last longer if not treated properly.

53 Alikes with Mastodynia

Learn from others
who are experiencing

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Breast tenderness

Signs & symptoms

Breast pain is usually classified as "cyclic" (cyclical) or "non-cyclic" (non-cyclical).

Symptoms of cyclical breast pain:
* The pain comes cyclically, just like the menstrual cycle.
* The breasts may become tender.
* Patients describe the pain like a heavy, dull ache. Some women describe it as a soreness with heaviness, while others say it is like a stabbing or burning pain.
* The breasts may swell.
* The breasts may become lumpy (not with a single, hard lump).
* Both breasts are typically affected, especially the upper, outer portions.
* The pain can spread to the underarm.
* Pain becomes more intense a few days before a period begins. In some cases, pain may start a couple of weeks before menstruation.
* It is more likely to affect younger women. Postmenopausal women may experience similar pains if they are on HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

Symptoms of non-cyclical breast pain:
* It affects just one breast, usually just within a small section of the breast, but may spread across the chest.
* It is common among post-menopausal women.
*The pain does not come and go in a menstrual cycle time-loop.
* The pain may be continuous or sporadic.
* Mastitis- if the pain is caused by infection within the breast, the woman may have a fever, feel ill (malaise), some breast swelling and tenderness and the painful area may feel warm. There may be redness. The pain is usually described as a burning sensation. For lactating mothers, the pain is more intense while breastfeeding.
*Extramammary pain – pain that feels as if the source is within the breast, but it is elsewhere. Sometimes called "referred pain." This may occur in some chest wall syndromes, such as costochondritis (inflammation where the rib and the cartilage meet).

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.


If a woman is pre-menopausal, the doctor will try to determine whether the breast pain might be cyclical. The doctor will probably ask:
* How much caffeine she consumes.
* Where within the breasts the pain is.
* Whether both breasts are painful.
* Whether she is a smoker.
* Whether she is on any medication or the combined contraceptive pill.
* Whether she might be pregnant.
* Whether there are any other symptoms, such as nipple discharge or a lump.

The doctor will listen to the patient’s lungs and heart, and also check her chest and abdomen to rule out other possible conditions and illnesses.
The doctor may also conduct a clinical breast exam to determine whether there are any lumps, changes in nipple appearance, or nipple discharge. The lymph nodes in the lower neck and armpit will also be checked to determine whether they are swollen or tender to the touch.
If a breast lump or unusual thickening of an area of tissue is detected, or a specific area of breast tissue is particularly painful, the doctor may order further tests:
* Mammogram
* Ultrasound scan
* Breast biopsy

The patient may be asked to complete a breast pain chart, which can be used to confirm the diagnosis and help the doctor decide on the best therapy.


In the majority of cases, it is possible to solve cyclical breast pain by taking OTC (over-the-counter) painkillers and wearing well-fitted bras. Cyclical breast pain is often unpredictable- it may well just go away in time, and then come back periodically. Being diagnosed with cyclical breast pain, as opposed to something more serious, can reassure many patients who then decide their condition is easier to live with. Women with non-cyclical breast pain may need therapy to treat the underlying cause, for instance, with infectious mastitis, the patient will be prescribed a course of antibiotics. Some topical NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen gel or diclofenac gel can be rubbed directly on to the painful areas. Do not rub NSAID gels onto broken skin. ("Topical" means you apply it directly onto the skin). Coffee, caffeine, and breast pain – a study published in The Nurse Practitioner found "caffeine restriction is an effective means of management of breast pain associated with fibrocystic disease."
Smoking and breast pain – several health authorities, hospitals, and health groups advise women with breast pain to stop smoking. The argument being that nicotine constricts the blood vessels and smoking is more likely to cause inflammation.
However, a study published in Climacteric, the Journal of the International Menopause Society, found "smoking reduces the incidence of breast tenderness in women receiving oral EPT (estrogen-progestogen therapy)." Prescription medications for breast pain
If breast pain symptoms are severe, and none of the therapies mentioned above helped, the doctor may recommend a prescription drug.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

Alike Wisdom

Instantly get answers to medical questions with our AI, built from the collective wisdom of our community facing similar experiences

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Find people who are
experiencing a similar
medical reality

100% Free