Feeling of pain in the breast is a rather common phenomenon, especially in women of childbearing age, therefore in the period between puberty and menopause , but it can also occur in males, especially during puberty.
Given how widespread the disorder is and it is easy to understand that in most cases there is nothing to fear, it is generally a consequence of hormonal changes during ovulation or disorders caused by unsuitable clothing, or to be related under completely physiological conditions such as pregnancy and breastfeeding .
Breast pain, also called mastodynia, can manifest itself in different ways: in case of acute and intermittent twinges , it can concern one ( right or left without a prevalence) or both breasts, it can be localized exclusively to the breast or extend to the arm and shoulder and can be accompanied by an altered skin sensitivity.
Experiencing pains in the breast very often leads to think that it is the initial symptom of a neoplasm, therefore of a tumor , but it should be noted that breast cancer rarely manifests itself with acute and dense pains, if not in the most advanced stages of the disease.
Therefore, the concern is generally not justified by the perceived symptoms. However, as is well known, breast cancer is a matter to be treated with the utmost attention, therefore we invite you to take advantage of the prevention campaigns and to seek medical advice if symptoms such as nipple discharge, redness, presence of nodules occur. , nipple changes such as introflexion, or skin markings.
What are the most common causes of breast
pains Since it is a phenomenon as widespread as it is complex to treat given the multiplicity of triggering causes, we have thought of rationalizing them and dividing them into paragraphs that we will go into in detail.
Most episodes ofstinging and pain in the breast (mastodynia) and to be linked to the physiological changes in hormonal levels during the woman’s fertile age.
Hormones perform cyclical alterations, responsible for ovulation and menstruation in women, but are also crucial in the period of puberty and menopause .
How they affect the breast
The breast is made up of the mammary gland, adipose tissue and connective tissue; it is covered by the skin and is surmounted by the nipple, through which the mother’s milk is excreted.
Hormones, mainly estrogen and progesterone, cause numerous changes also in the mammary gland which affect the entire breast causingpain in the breast , swelling , the appearance of turgidity and changes in volume.
The gland increases during puberty, becomes hypertrophic in conjunction with the period of ovulation and menstruation, increases in volume during pregnancy and lactation and then loses size and tone during menopause . All of these variations involve different states of tension on the tissues surrounding the gland and cause pain .
During the lactation periodthe mammary gland increases in volume due to the production of milk, therefore, as it enlarges, it exerts greater pressure on the surrounding structures and tissues. Remember that the breast is a very sensitive region of the body, due to the dense network of nerves it hosts. Therefore, greater pressure in the region causes pain that can also be sharp and throbbing.
In the late stage of breastfeeding , especially when the baby’s first teeth appear, it is very easy for biting injuries and wounds (fissures) to arise, which in addition to causing pain and burning per se, can also result in phenomena infectious. Infections, in addition to giving widespread pain, also cause fever, chills and generalized malaise.
It is an inflammatory process due to bacterial infections that occur mainly in breastfeeding women (puerperal mastitis), but there is also a non-puerperal form.
Typically the pathogen enters the breast and mammary gland through the nipple and gives rise to phenomena such as very intense and painful breast pain, swelling of the breast, fever, chills and generalized malaise. In these cases, a drug treatment based on antibiotics is absolutely necessary, temporarily suspending breastfeeding .
It is undoubtedly the most feared hypothesis, but it is good to remember that breast cancer is unlikelyits symptoms are the presence of pain and stabbing , if not in the advanced stages of the disease, and that compared to all the other causes, it is certainly a rarer event.
It must also be said that there are malignant forms, but also benign forms and that today medical therapies are giving good results. Furthermore, thanks to the prevention and screening campaigns it is possible to identify the disease at its onset, increasing the chances of recovery and therefore of survival.
One of the most aggressive forms is breast cancer, which results in a picture of symptoms and manifestations that take the name of Paget’s disease and include: sore breasts, changes in the skin and shape of the nipple (often it turns inside out), discharge, redness, dry skin and itching. If these symptoms occur, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention is essential for rapid diagnosis and for identifying a successful therapy.
The use of contraceptive drugs (both in the form of pills and patches), hormone replacement therapy in menopause , such as the use of drugs such as antidepressants (fluoxetine and serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs) can generate the annoying feeling of breast tenderness and twitching in the breasts. This is a very common side effect that tends to go away when treatment is stopped.
The inadequacy of clothing such as tight bras, push-ups, such as wearing too tight clothes, can cause a progressive rubbing injury, which can involve both female and male gender.
The breast, and in particular the nipple, are very delicate tissues due to the dense innervation and the continuous contact and rubbing with too tight tissues, irritating tissues and rough materials easily causes pain, redness and abrasions of the skin.
In these cases, pain and stinging in the breastthey refer to an inflammatory and pathological process which does not directly affect the breast, but which concerns another anatomical site.
In the case of costo-chondritis there is an inflammation of the cartilage that is interposed between the sternum and the rib, causing dense and very acute pain in the breast and that the subject is able to perceive in a very precise point.
How to make the diagnosis
When the twinges in the breast occur cyclically and concomitantly with ovulation and menstruation, without the presence of other additional symptoms and skin manifestations, there is no need to be alarmed.
It is very likely that the symptoms are related to the physiological hormonal changes of the fertile age. However, it is always good to talk to your general practitioner, who can prescribe analgesic drugs to ease the pain or direct you to specialist visits to verify that it is not the manifestation of a pathology.
If, on the other hand, the twinges in the breast are of greater importance and are associated with other symptoms and alterations of the nipple or breast, it is necessary to seek medical advice (usually a gynecology specialist) as quickly as possible.
During the visit, the doctor at first collects all the symptoms perceived and manifested by the patient. Therefore, those questions are asked that serve to skim all the diagnostic hypotheses, such as: when the problem arose, if it is cyclical, episodic or continuous, if the painful pangs are associated with fever symptoms and chills. It is also important to investigate if the patient is pregnant , if she has had children or if she is breastfeeding.
Once the preliminary information has been collected, the doctor will examine the patient’s breasts, looking for the presence of skin alterations, alterations in the nipple, any secretions and redness. On palpation she will check the state of tension in the breast and look for the presence of nodules.
The investigations can then proceed through diagnostic imaging tools such as ultrasound and mammography, capable of viewing the gland and any nodules or anomalies affecting it.
As a preventive measure, regardless of the presence of pain or changes in the breast and nipple, it is recommended to carry out a self-examination of the breast on a monthly basis in the period following menstruation.
This is because the gland deflates from the typical turgor present at the same time as the menstrual cycle and if during the self-examination phase changes are noticed and it is necessary to seek medical attention.
It is then necessary to undergo screening programs for breast cancer which include undergoing periodic ultrasound and mammograms.
What are the most effective therapies
There are remedies
Any phenomenon that affects the breast, whether it is of an inflammatory nature, due to simple hormonal changes or whether it is more severe pathological pictures, requires entrusting the diagnosis exclusively to the evaluation of a doctor.
The fear of having breast cancer is very widespread and taking advantage of this great internet attention is full of advice and unlikely remedies that have no scientific validity and which, on the contrary, waste precious time in a diagnosis that if made quickly in the in most cases, it is possible to treat the pathology with great success.
Furthermore, on the internet there are remedies for every type of symptom and cause, but in the same way they are means without any validity that not only do not lead to the resolution of the problem, but can also cause it to worsen.
Therefore, the recommendation is always to entrust one’s health to those who have the necessary knowledge to provide effective and appropriate therapies. Stinging in the breast can be the sign of a pathology that only a specialist doctor is able to identify and treat.