Breast Pain

Breast pain (mastalgia) is very common. Up to 70 percent of women will experience breast pain at some time in their lives. It can be cyclic (associated with the menstrual cycle), or non-cyclic (not related to your period). Breast pain alone is rarely a sign of breast cancer.

Breast pain can be due to:

  • Hormonal changes
  • An enlarging or inflamed cyst (fluid-filled sac)
  • Injury
  • Certain medications
  • Pain in the chest wall or muscles

Evaluation can include:


Follow-up will be determined by you and your provider depending on your particular situation.

Treatment for Breast Pain

Often the pain will spontaneously resolve with time, and no treatment is needed.

Other options for relief include:

  • Changing medications
  • Wearing a well-fitting bra
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen
  • Applying heat or ice

Certain dietary changes or supplements have brought relief to some women, but have not been proven in clinical trials:

  • Evening primrose oil at a dosage of 1,000 mg orally two to three times per day — This may help; however, it can take three to four months to get relief. It should not be taken by women with a seizure disorder.
  • Vitamins such as Vitamin E, thiamine (Vitamin B1) or Vitamin B6
  • Reducing intake of caffeine and/or chocolate
  • Reducing the amount of fat in your diet

Questions About Breast Pain?

If you have questions about this topic, or would like more information, please talk with your health-care provider.

Virginia Mason's Breast Clinic, with locations in Seattle and Federal Way, is easily reached toll-free at (877) 433-9813. We make it a priority to answer your call promptly and to schedule you for the most appropriate exam.