Overview

Breast pain (mastalgia) — a common complaint among women — can include breast tenderness, sharp burning pain or tightness in your breast tissue. The pain may be constant or it may occur only occasionally.

Breast pain can range from mild to severe. It may occur:

  • Just a few days a month, in the two to three days leading up to your period. This normal, mild-to-moderate pain affects both breasts.
  • A week or longer each month, starting before your period and sometimes continuing through your menstrual cycle. The pain may be moderate or severe, and affects both breasts.
  • Throughout the month, not related to your menstrual cycle.

Postmenopausal women sometimes have breast pain, but breast pain is more common in younger women who haven't completed menopause.

Most times, breast pain signals a noncancerous (benign) breast condition and rarely indicates breast cancer. Still, unexplained breast pain that doesn't go away after one or two menstrual cycles or that persists after menopause needs to be evaluated by your doctor.