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Breast pain - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Breast pain is rarely a sign of a serious problem. Often it goes away on its own without any treatment. If your pain is mild, you may just need to be reassured that there's nothing wrong. But if your breast pain is severe, there are some treatments that can help.

If you are worried about breast pain, you should see your doctor. They will ask you questions about the pain and examine your breasts to make sure you don't also have signs of breast cancer.

The main signs of breast cancer are:[12]

  • A lump

  • A sore that won't heal

  • A swelling in the skin (called a nodule)

  • Other skin changes.

If your doctor thinks you may have breast cancer, they will refer you to a specialist for further tests.

But if your doctor does not suspect cancer, they may ask you to keep a 'pain diary' to help them work out what type of breast pain you have and how bad it is.[13] Most women (more than 8 in 10) are happy with reassurance and don't want any treatment for their breast pain.[13]

You may find having a properly fitted bra or one with more support helps your breast pain. And if you exercise, wearing a sports bra may help.[14] Out of the women who get breast pain linked to their periods (cyclical breast pain) about one-third find that it goes away on its own within three months.[15]

Up to 2 in 10 women with breast pain opt for medical treatment.[13] Treatment may help for a while. But up to 6 in 10 women find that the pain comes back eventually.[16]

Treatment seems to work less well for breast pain not linked to periods (non-cyclical breast pain). But about half the women who get this type of breast pain find it goes away on its own.[16]


For references related to Breast pain click here.
Last Updated: February 17, 2011
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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