Soreness in Breast- Causes in Different Age Groups

Every woman may experience this symptom in some time of her reproductive life. Soreness may be described has a discomfort or pain that may be sharp or stabbing to dull or aching.

There are different causes why your breast tissue may feel sore. Let’s have an insight into the common reasons of breast soreness.


As a Part of Premenstrual Syndrome

Some girls may feel breast soreness 1 or 2 week prior to their periods. As the flow commences, soreness gets alleviated.

This may be explained as a hormone response. Breast tissue is very sensitive to female hormones. During the first part of menstrual cycle, estrogen is the predominant hormone secreted by the ovary. It increases vascularity of all reproductive organs, including the mammary glands.

The ducts and tissues of these gland swell up and you may feel soreness or fullness there. It’s common for girls to feel that their brasseries are tighter during this phase.

As the cycle proceed, progesterone takes over estrogen. Menstrual flow commences. Vascularity of breast and other reproductive organs decrease. As this swelled tissue returns back to its normal status, soreness is relieved.

An Early Sign Of Menarche

Young girls heading towards puberty may perceive some fullness and soreness in their breast tissue. This may be one of the early signs of menarche, (start of puberty). Gradually, she may notice that her menstrual cycles are beginning.

As her cycles adjust and become more regular with time, soreness in her breast and other discomforting symptoms lessen down.


Heaviness or fullness of breast, accompanied with soreness around the nipple area may be one of the early pregnancy signs. Other signs to look at are –

  • A feeling of extreme tiredness
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Headaches or mood swings
  • Nausea/ vomiting or aversion to food
  • Perceiving more of smells
  • Missed periods

If you have some of these symptoms, you may go for a home pregnancy test.


Just as menarche, menopause is associated with hormonal surges and troughs. Menopause is not a date when your menses suddenly stop, but a period of 1 or 2 years when periods become scanty and irregular, finally coming to complete cessation.

Period around menopause in called Perimenopausal.

Perimenopausal period is associated with erratic hormonal surges. Your estrogen may suddenly become too high, then decline. Progesterone also wavers this way.

It’s common for breast to become sore during some phase. Breast are typically not bulky or heavy. Soreness is associated with a burning sensation.

Other signs to look at are-

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Irregular and Scanty menses
  • Mood swings
  • Depressive feelings
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headache
  • Loss of muscle mass and vigor
  • Reduced interest in sex

Infections In The Breast Tissue

Referred to as Mastitis. Breast tissue in vascular. During phases of lactation, when its ducts are full of milk, they are prone to getting infected. Infected breast tissue would pain, ooze out infected pus, and show swelling and redness. You may have extreme pain or soreness in one or both the breast. Fever may be there.

Treatment aims at draining out pus urgently and taking appropriate antibiotics.

Fibrocystic Breast Diseases

Breast tissue may develop cystic changes along with some lumpiness. The cause is hormonal fluctuations.

You may experience pain. Palpating the breast tissue gently may reveal lumps.

Breast Cysts or Fibroadenomas

Since breast is essentially a glandular tissue , it’s not uncommon for it to show adenomas. These adenomas are not cancerous. They are usually painless lumps that area easily movable within the breast tissue.

Stress/ Anxiety

Stress or anxiety area states of mind, that have often being seen to be associated with physical symptoms. Such illnesses are called Psychosomatic, where your psyche influences the soma (body tissues) to give symptoms.

You may feel a sharp pain or soreness in one breast usually, that may radiate to the armpit area. The pain may be quite severe.

Relaxing or taking anxiolytics may help.

Muscular Strain

Breast tissue is located over chest wall muscles. Any condition affecting these muscles or the ribs lying beneath may give you breast pain.

Strenuous Physical Activities

Lifting weights, pushing, pulling or any other activity putting unusual or sustained strain over the shoulder and chest muscles may cause breast pain as well. Pain is often seen radiating to the armpit area  from the affected breast.

Weight Gain

A gain in weight with an over all increase in breast tissue mass may make it heavier, increasing bulkiness. Ligaments holding it may start giving you some pulling sort of pain.

Wearing Inappropriate Brasseries

Lose bra or wearing ones that don’t support your breast tissue adequately may cause a constant pull over the breast tissue. You may feel a sharp to dull ache over the sagging breast.

Breast Injury

Direct breast injury or scarring tissue developed in one of both the breast following some breast surgery may produce pull in certain localized areas. This may give you breast pain.

Risk Factors

Certain lifestyle habits or conditions make you prone to getting breast soreness. These include-

  • Being over weight
  • Consuming too much or caffeine, in drinks, coffee or chocolates.
  • Females on long term oral contraceptives
  • Statin drug users, taken to reduce cholesterol
  • Taking certain medicines, like SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • Having cysts or lumps in the breast
  • Lack of essential fatty acids

Lack of Essential Fatty Acids Linked With Breast Pain

Lack or dietary deficiency of essential fatty acids, chiefly linolenic acid, has been seen to be linked with breast soreness. Mechanism has not been fully explained.

It has been postulated that in the absence or deficiency of these fatty acids, breast tissue is not able to respond to hormones very well. May be receptor for hormones needs these acids for proper functionality.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Causes of Breast Soreness

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      This is normal during pregnancy or around menses.

      Let us know your age, whether pregnant or having any other medical condition, any fluid coming out of your breast, menstrual problems, if any?


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