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Breast pain

There are many reasons breasts can be painful. Breast pain by itself is unlikely to be a symptom of cancer.

Breast pain is usually linked to periods

Symptoms of breast pain caused by periods:

How to ease the pain yourself

Do

  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen, or rub painkilling gel on your breasts

  • wear a properly fitted bra during the day and a soft bra to sleep in

There's little evidence that vitamin E tablets or evening primrose oil help with breast pain.

Breast pain not linked to periods

Sometimes breast pain is caused by:

  • injuries or sprains to the neck, shoulder or back – these can also be felt as breast pain
  • medicines like the contraceptive pill and some antidepressants – check the side effects in the packet's information leaflet
  • conditions like mastitis or a breast abscess – these can cause breast pain along with other symptoms
  • pregnancy – breast pain can be an early sign

Breast pain and the menopause

Hormone changes during the menopause can cause breast pain.

Once the menopause is over (you've had 12 months without a period), the pain should not return.