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What are the Most Common Causes of Sharp Breast Pain?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sharp breast pain, which is also often referred to as mastalgia, may occur in many women for various reasons. One of the most common causes is trauma to the breast, which may include painful cysts. Some types of medication may also result in sore breasts, as can an imbalance of tissue in the area. Finally, one cause of breast pain is considered cyclical, as it tends to show up during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause since it is related to hormones. It should be noted that pain in the breast is rarely a symptom of cancer, and in most cases, the cause is typically treatable.

Getting hit in the breast, or perhaps being in a car accident during which the breast area is impacted, may lead to breast pain afterward. Trauma often leaves bruises, lacerations, or open wounds, so if this is the cause, there should be some evidence of injury. Of course, in some cases, the wound or bruise has already healed but the pain remains months or years after the trauma. Some women may notice a painful lump on their breast, often called a cyst, which is typically fluid-filled and sometimes tender to the touch. While most cysts are benign, and thus not harmful, women who notice lumps on their breasts should see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

Some types of medication may lead to sharp breast pain. For example, antidepressants often feature breast pain as a side effect, though other kinds of medication may also lead to this issue. Birth control pills also often come with this side effect. In fact, any pill containing hormones has the ability to bring on breast pain, as both natural and synthetic hormones are often to blame for tenderness, swelling, and sharp pains in breast tissue.

Not surprisingly, any stage in a woman's life that involves hormonal changes may cause sharp breast pain. For example, some women notice tenderness and shooting pains in the area just before menopause, while pregnancy and breastfeeding often bring on sharp pains, as well. Many women also get breast tenderness, swelling, and sharp pains every month, as menstruation can result in this issue.

Yet another cause of sharp breast pain is an imbalance of breast tissue. Any imbalance in fatty tissue can cause it to feel sensitive, which often results in mild to moderate pain. Fortunately, evening primrose oil is often considered a simple way to relieve the breast pain brought on by fatty tissue imbalance.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By dfoster85 — On Jan 16, 2012

I'v e heard of sharp breast pain in one breast or both being connected to breastfeeding during pregnancy. And that was my experience as well.

With my first pregnancy, I had sore breasts but no sharp pain. But with my second, when I was still nursing my first, I had sharp pains. I wound up weaning due to decreased milk supply and I had sharp pains both before and after weaning.

I remember reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing, which *everyone* who is pregnant and nursing should read. One lady in the book was nursing a two-year-old and she developed very sharp pains while nursing. It turns out the little girl was nursing even though the milk had dried up *completely.* She really didn't want to wean. It was a hard time for both of them, but they got through it! Not sure if the sharp pains are more common during pregnancy with breastfeeding or if that was just my personal experience.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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